Accused not criminally responsible for Qualicum stabbings due to psychosis, marijuana use

By Ian Holmes
June 13, 2017 - 7:43pm Updated: June 14, 2017 - 12:24am

Steven Robert Clark was found not criminally responsible for a pair of stabbings in Qualicum Beach in 2016.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — A man who claimed he heard voices prior to stabbing his brother-in-law and a close friend at a Qualicum Beach home last year was found not criminally responsible for the attack on account of mental disorder.

Steven Robert Clark, 34, learned his fate in BC Supreme Court in Nanaimo Tuesday afternoon.

Court heard psychosis likely factored in the April 8, 2016 stabbings. Clark plead not guilty to aggravated assault and assault with a weapon charges on grounds he was not criminally responsible.

Clark will go to a psychiatric facility on the Lower Mainland before his case is reviewed by the Mental Health Review Board, which will be responsible for deciding how long he remains in custody.

On Tuesday, court heard Clark has a lengthy history of drug use, including crack cocaine and crystal meth while in his late teens and 20's. Clark said he suddenly started hearing loud voices roughly two months before the stabbing, at a time he was smoking six or seven marijuana joints a day.

Clark stated several times he thought the voices were a spiritual awakening and not mental health related.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Kolchak testified while Clark's marijuana use wasn't directly linked to the stabbings, it likely caused the voices Clark was hearing.

"Psychosis was the cause of the violence,"  Kolchak told Court. “It's unlikely that marijuana by itself caused the violence without the presence of a psychotic symptom.”

Clark spent three weeks in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital's psychiatric unit and was released against staff's recommendations three days before the attack. Marijuana was the only drug in his system at the time.

During sentencing, Justice Douglas Thompson said there's no evidence indicating Clark was intoxicated at the time of the stabbings, but said “there is little doubt” the accused was in a psychotic state.

“Generally speaking I found his evidence reliable and I accept his evidence that he had a very limited amount of marijuana between his release from hospital and the assaults.”

Clark testified he didn't remember the stabbings but does recall dropping a knife and hearing voices instructing him to kill somebody.

Clark's brother-in-law suffered wounds to his hands and liver, while his friend had a head wound.

Both survived.


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