Hearing set to determine if man accused of Vernon, B.C. murder is fit to stand trial- VB BLOG

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An Okanagan woman hopes an upcoming B.C. Review Board hearing will finally lead to a trial for the man accused of murdering her brother.

Nearly three years ago, Richard William Fairgrieve was deemed unfit to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the death of William Bartz.

Bartz’s sister, Teresa Bartz, said it is difficult for her to move on when one of the people accused in her brother’s murder hasn’t been tried.

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“I think about it every day. You can’t step forward until it is done. I mean every one of these hearings that they have. It is like a band-aid being ripped off again,” Teresa Bartz said.

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William Bartz was killed in his Vernon, B.C., home in July 2017.

“Willy wasn’t perfect and I know that, none of us are, but he didn’t deserve to die like that. He was a kind and giving person,” Teresa Bartz said.

In its latest decision, reviewing Fairgrieve’s unfit-to-stand-trial status in November 2021, the BC Review Board said he suffered from a neurocognitive disorder that reportedly impaired his ability to produce and comprehend language.

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However, some details that came to light at that hearing have raised concerns for the victim’s sister.

A psychologist noted “when out of sight he presented differently. He was overheard communicating with staff with greater fluidity.”

At the time of last November’s hearing, the board said that a neuropsychological assessment was important to determine Fairgrieve’s readiness to go back to court, but Fairgrieve’s treating psychiatrist told the review board that when it came to consenting to the assessment Fairgrieve, at one point, said he wanted to speak with his legal counsel before proceeding.

Leading Teresa Bartz to argue that Fairgrieve is “playing the system.”

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However, the treating psychiatrist from the forensic psychiatric hospital where Fairgrieve is being held testified Fairgrieve wasn’t feigning his condition and the review board observed Fairgrieve did not appear to be following much of what was said and appeared to struggle to both understand and respond to questions.

Ultimately, last November, the board found Fairgrieve continued to be unfit.

However, at another hearing, scheduled later this month, Teresa Bartz is hoping for a different outcome.

“I am hoping that this hearing that is coming up is finally going to deem him fit to stand trial because it has been a long time, ” Teresa Bartz said.

Fairgrieve told the BC Review Board he wants to go to court. He has denied he hurt someone and told his treating psychiatrist he plans to plead not guilty.

Click to play video: 'BC Review Board denies ‘visit leave’ for Vernon man found not criminally responsible'

BC Review Board denies ‘visit leave’ for Vernon man found not criminally responsible

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