Hearing to decide Bandura’s future
The man accused of violently attacking the bishop of the Kamloops Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church is slated to appear in court next week for a hearing to determine whether or not he can be held criminally responsible for the incident.
John Bandura didn’t appear personally in Kamloops provincial court on Wednesday (Feb. 9) as lawyers finalized details regarding the hearing.
The 30-year-old is facing charges of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and mischief stemming from an incident on Oct. 22 at the rectory next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Kamloops.
Bandura is alleged to have beaten Bishop David Monroe, 69, with a blunt object — believed to be a microwave door — after forcing his way through the rectory’s front door.
At the time of the attack, police said Bandura was in the throes of a psychotic episode and had been having delusions regarding religion.
He was checked in to Royal Inland Hospital’s psychiatric ward hours before the incident, but left on his own accord later in the day.
Bandura was arrested hours after the attack after police found him hiding in a shed on his father’s property.
Monroe was in hospital until December and is now recuperating in an undisclosed location.
Crown prosecutor Steve Lawhead said on Wednesday he’s content to have Bandura appear next week via video from the Lower Mainland psychiatric hospital in which he’s been residing since his arrest.
“There would be a risk because of the stress of the move with regards to his [mental] fitness,” he said.
The hearing on Tuesday (Feb. 15) will seek to determine whether Bandura should be held not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder (NCRMD).
Lawhead called the case “unusual,” in that it is basically a joint submission by Crown and defence, with both sides believing Bandura is NCRMD.
However, Kamloops provincial court Judge Sheri Donegan will ultimately decide after hearing evidence from police and doctors, and watching Bandura’s videotaped police interview which took place in the hours following the incident.
“It’s one of the best pieces of evidence with regard to Mr. Bandura’s mental state at the time of the offence,” Lawhead said of the video, adding it includes “really important evidence about demeanour and body language.”
Lawhead said he will also file Bandura’s fitness report, a previous NCRMD report and a number of Mental Health Act certificates.
Bandura has already been declared NCRMD by a psychiatrist, but it’s still ultimately up to the court.
If Donegan accepts the finding, Bandura’s file will be turned over to the British Columbia Review Board for disposition.
If it’s not accepted, he will have to enter a plea and the file will proceed as any other criminal matter would.