A Gabriola Island man has been found not criminally responsible in the death of a Gabriola Island woman. Nanaimo Supreme Court Judge Torrence Shultes ruled this morning that Cramer is not guilty by reason of a mental disorder.
Cramer was facing one charge of murder in the August 2011 death of Elaine Schwartz and attempted murder in the wounding of her son Trevor during an attack at their home.
James Wright is Cramer’s lawyer. He says the decision won’t be a popular decision in some circles, but he believes the difficult decision was the right one to make.
A review board will look at Cramer’s case in the next 45 days and decide on the state of his mental health. Wright says he expects that Cramer will be transferred to a forensic psychiatric facility on the mainland, where he’ll stay until the board decides he’s no longer a public risk.
The issue of drug abuse was central in the case. Cramer was using crystal meth during the time leading up the attack, and the judge had to determine whether toxic psychosis played a role. In the end, the judge decided that an untreated, underlying mental disorder was to blame, based on the expert advice of three psychiatrists who acted as witnesses in the case.
Crown Counsel Ken Paziuk says that factor complicated the case.
Paziuk says the ruling that Cramer was not criminally responsible was not unanticipated. He says it’s too early to tell whether there will be an appeal.
Meanwhile, victim Trevor Schwartz says he’s trying to get on with life.