Vernon man charged with murder unfit to stand trial | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon man charged with murder unfit to stand trial

July 06, 2020 - 6:00 AM

The man accused of the murder of a 50-year-old Vernon man found dead in July 2017, has been declared unfit to stand trial.

Richard William Fairgrieve, born 1973, along with co-accused Jacqueline Nicole Leavins, born 1978, were charged with the murder of Will Bartz in October 2018. Both Fairgrieve and Leavins were denied bail and have been in custody since they were arrested. The arrest took place almost 18 months after Will Bartz was found dead at his Sundance Suites residence in July 2017.

B.C. Prosecution Service spokesperson Dan McLaughlin confirmed Fairgrieve was declared unfit to stand trial on Jan. 28.

Leavins murder trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 17.

While Fairgrieve has been deemed unfit to stand trial for the murder charges, he appeared by video in the B.C. Supreme Court June 30, facing three charges of trafficking a controlled substance.

Fairgrieve's lawyer Glenn Verdurmen told the court Fairgrieve had suffered a stroke and had an "organic brain injury."

"I can't speak to the exact medical condition, but his overall condition deteriorated significantly," Verdurmen said. "Ultimately a determination was made with respect to the murder charge... that he was unfit to stand trial."

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley ordered a psychiatric assessment report so the court could make a decision on whether Fairgrieve could stand trial on the drug trafficking charges.

McLaughlin said should Fairgrieve be found fit at some later time, the B.C. Prosecution Service will resume the prosecution against him for the murder charge.

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