Jeffrey Caille was not criminally responsible for the violent August 2014 death of White Rock’s Bruce Ridout, a judge has ruled.
Justice Patrice Abrioux made the declaration Friday morning in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, the day after lawyers presented evidence in support of the finding.
Caillé was found not guilty due to mental disorder.
“There is no logical or rational reason why Mr. Caillé acted the way he did towards those individuals that day,” Abrioux said, citing expert reports, witness evidence and details in an agreed statement of facts.
Mental disorder “prevented Mr. Caille from either appreciating the quality and nature of his acts, or understanding that they were wrong.”
Caillé – 22 at the time of his arrest – was charged with second-degree murder, assault causing bodily harm and assault following a heated altercation Aug. 10, 2014 that started near Ridout’s home in the 900-block of Ash Street.
In court, Abrioux – who conducted the proceedings in French, at the request of the accused, then took time Friday to also summarize his decision in English for the gallery – noted that two psychiatrists who assessed Caillé following the incident reached the same conclusion: that the young man had latent schizophrenia, and that drug use triggered changes to his behaviour. Those changes had been noted by witnesses in the week prior to the incident, as well as in the hours before, the court heard.
Police who responded to the scene also reported bizarre behaviour, Abrioux said.
“They did not hesitate to take him immediately to Peace Arch Hospital because of his behaviour at the time,” he said.
Weeks later, “many of the symptoms were still ongoing.”
Caillé on Thursday, with his parents and nearly a dozen of Ridout’s friends in the gallery, pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.
The facts of the case, defence counsel Jonathan Desbarats told Peace Arch News that morning, were not in dispute.
Witnesses had reported seeing Caillé – who was living with his girlfriend, her mother and Ridout at the time – attacking a woman on the street outside the home before a young woman with her dog yelled at him and attempted to intervene. The passerby was threatened and allegedly had a knife thrown at her.
Caillé then went inside the house and was throwing knives and other objects off the balcony.
Following the incident, witnesses told PAN that when another neighbour went inside to try to intervene, he discovered Ridout’s body and ran out of the house asking for assistance from someone who knew CPR.
While police did not release details regarding the cause of death – witnesses had said Ridout was stabbed while coming to a woman’s defence – the court heard Thursday that Ridout was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital with knife wounds.
Mary Archibald, 24, and her mother, Brenda Bolton, confirmed they were both injured in the altercation that day.
Archibald told PAN outside court Thursday that she was Caillé’s girlfriend at the time of the attack.
She said she and Caillé did ecstacy about a week before the incident, and he changed.
“Just one week, all of a sudden, he just wasn’t the same,” she said. “For me, I know that wasn’t him.”
She said she “absolutely” agreed that a finding of not-criminally-responsible would be appropriate.
“I miss Bruce with every part of me, but I don’t blame Jeffrey,” she said.
In giving a victim-impact statement Friday, Archibald told the court the incident changed the lives of all those involved.
“We can definitely say that none of our lives are the same,” she said, reading from a prepared statement.
Archibald said she had to delete any trace of the “six months’ worth of good memories” that she had made with Caille, out of respect for Ridout; and that some close to Ridout blamed her and her mother for what happened.
“People truly believed that we were at some form of fault here, which hurts,” Archibald said. “All of us were victims that day. It was a horrible experience and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemies.”
Archibald described the statement as “a few last words to say before moving on with my life.”
Abrioux, before offering his condolences to those affected, said his verdict “in no way can minimize or diminish the human tragedies.”
He referred the case to the BC Review Board – described as an independent tribunal established under the Criminal Code of Canada “to make decisions and orders concerning the liberty of individuals whom courts have found to be not criminally responsible for acts committed while they were suffering from a mental disorder, or whose mental disorder makes them unfit to stand trial on criminal charges.”
Outside court, Loucks explained the tribunal could decide that a conditional discharge is appropriate for Caillé; alternatively, an absolute discharge or detention.
“It’s hard to think that in these circumstances that they would do that,” Loucks said, referring to the detention option.
Ocean Park resident Jill Boulier, who described Ridout as “one of my closest friends,” said she was disappointed with Abrioux’s verdict, and that she had wanted to see Caillé get “some time.”
“He took a really beautiful soul,” she told PAN. “They don’t make people like Bruce.”
Bolton said she hopes the case brings awareness to issues of mental health, in particular, how to get help when a situation is unfolding at home, but isn’t yet an emergency – which she said was the case on Aug. 10, 2014.
Bolton said she knew Caillé’s behaviour “was deteriorating” but couldn’t find anyone that would help.
“I was floundering on where to get some help,” she said. “I needed an assessment right on the spot in that household. Where do you go?”
Caillé remains under conditions that were imposed in November 2015, which include a $100,000, no-deposit bail, that he live with his mother or father in Quebec, and that he abstain from drugs or alcohol.