Legal officials, family members and accused murderer Martin Galen Vandenberg are still waiting to hear whether the young man is fit to stand trial after a court-ordered psychiatric assessment failed to take place in the last month.
Vandenberg has been charged with causing the death of his mother Heather Jones, who was found dead in her Salt Spring home on Dec. 6, 2017. Vandenberg was arrested that day at Jones’ home and then released and hospitalized two days later under provisions of the Mental Health Act.
He was taken into custody when charges were laid on Jan. 5. Then on Jan. 9, a Duncan Provincial Court judge ordered that a psychiatric assessment of up to 28 days take place at a forensic psychiatric hospital to determine Vandenberg’s mental fitness. Since that did not occur, a new assessment order was issued Tuesday with results to be ready for a March 6 court date.
Vandenberg appeared quiet and nearly unresponsive on the video feed from Vancouver Island Regional Correction Centre in Saanich on Tuesday.
Speaking before a Duncan courthouse presided over by Judge Parker MacCarthy, Vandenberg’s legal counsel Tybring Hemphill voiced concern that his client had not spent time under psychiatric care as ordered.
“He has not left VIRCC,” Hemphill said, adding his client had been discharged from Royal Jubilee Hospital with the understanding he would be going into a forensic psychiatric hospital next.
“Well, that didn’t happen,” Hemphill said. “He was merely warehoused like any other offender with mental health issues.”
For more on this story, see the Feb. 7, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.