Martin Vandenberg, the Salt Spring man accused of murdering his mother Heather Jones on Dec. 6, 2017, has been declared fit to stand trial on the charges.
Vandenberg, 22, made a second appearance at Duncan Provincial Court Tuesday via video link from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, following a court order to determine his ability to stand trial. Judge Parker MacCarthy ruled that Vandenberg is sufficiently able to understand trial proceedings based on an assessment by psychiatrist George Jacob Wiehahn for B.C.’s Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.
Being determined to be fit to stand trial does not mean Vandenberg’s mental health will not be a factor in proceedings.
It is not known whether the defence will argue that Vandenberg is “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder,” as per Section 672 of the Canadian Criminal Code. The day before his mother’s body was found at her home, Vandenberg had sought help for mental health issues at Lady Minto Hospital.
Vandenberg’s next court appearance in Duncan is tentatively set for April 10 so Crown prosecutors can prepare an additional disclosure. The date may be moved ahead if the information is ready before then.
For more on this story, see the March 7, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.