by Mona Mattei on Friday July 23 2010
Kimberly Ruth Noyes has been found ‘not criminally responsible for reason of mental disorder’ in the killing of 12-year-old John Fulton of Grand Forks.
Rossland B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan handed down his ruling on the case that wrapped up testimony on Wednesday. McEwan’s lengthy verdict recounted evidence from the trial and case law to support his decision before making his determination.
“In the circumstances of this case there were no witnesses to the immediate event,” said McEwan. But he determined that “there is no evidence of any rational basis for the killing. Taken all in all, I find it more than probably, indeed almost a certainty…that Ms. Noyes was suffering from a mental disorder” at the time of the killing.
Noyes admitted to stabbing Fulton in the throat with a knife in her home in August 2009, and her mental illness was the sole issue before the court through the three week trial.
McEwan said he was “satisfied she be found not criminally responsible for reason of mental disorder” and remanded Noyes to remain in custody but be transferred to the forensic psychiatric hospital in Port Coquitlam pending an order from the B.C. Review Board.
Crown Counsel Phillip Seagram was satisfied with the decision. “I think it was the correct result in law according to the facts and evidence that was put forth. By the end of (the case) I was in agreement with the defence. I was never made aware of any viable alternative motive.”
Noyes’ attorney, Deanne Gaffar, said that this was the outcome she had anticipated from the outset but that this tragedy for Noyes, her family and the Fultons could have been prevented.
“My sense is that there was perhaps a lot of understaffing, a lot of overloading of those who work in the mental health profession in this region,” Gaffar expressed. “The evidence demonstrated very clearly that all of the red flags were showing in July of 2009 - all of them. In this particular case…these mental health professionals and caregivers were doing what they could. Ms. Noyes mental condition is exceedingly complex and the medication that was prescribed wasn’t effective in dealing with her depression.”
While neither Noyes’ family or the Fultons are willing to make a statement, Gaffar said that Noyes’ family “is emotional and they are devastated about what happened to John Fulton. They have always experienced frustration in dealing with Ms. Noyes’ mental illness but they love their sister and they have always been there for her and they will always be there for her.”
Noyes will remain in custody until her review determines her disposition. Gaffar said that her client is currently in a mentally delicate state. “My expectation is that there will be a disposition of a detention order to maintain her treatment and to finally have her properly treated for her mental disorder which has not occurred since she’s been in custody,” said Gaffar.
Although many would say that persons with mental disorders should be punished for their actions, Gaffar said that the system in Canada has been developed to treat “individuals with mental disorders as humanely as possible. In this particular case, her mental disorder is not an excuse, it’s an explanation.
“The explanation of not criminally responsible does not in any way diminish the devastation and the loss that has been suffered by the Fulton family. It will be very difficult for many members of the community to understand perhaps this decision. But in no way should it be taken as not expressing the intense sorrow Ms. Noyes feels towards the Fulton family and what she has done.”