RCMP on the scene of a stabbing scene on Yale Road downtown Chilliwack in the early hours of Saturday, March, 3, 2018 as posted by Jordan Jiang via Twitter for CTV.

Man diagnosed with schizophrenia accused of violent stabbing downtown Chilliwack granted bail

Robert Giesbrecht, 33, charged after being arrested in Abbotsford early March 3

Crown counsel asked for a 33-year-old charged with viciously cutting a man’s face with a utility knife downtown Chilliwack on March 3 to be remanded in custody, but a judge ordered him released on bail on a $2,500 surety on March 6.

Robert Matthew Giesbrecht suffers from schizophrenia, has a history of violence but no criminal record, in part because of his being found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder for an assault with a weapon case six years ago in Abbotsford.

Crown Michelle Wray asked the court on Monday to remand Giesbrecht after he allegedly used a utility knife to cut a homeless man from the back of his neck to the corner of his mouth while Giesbrecht was looking for crack cocaine around midnight on March 2.

He was arrested soon after and charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

“There is a history of violence which should be concerning to the court,” Crown counsel argued.

During the bail hearing held Monday, Giesbrecht was brought in wearing a blue T-shirt. The short, black man with long dreadlocks looked around the courtroom frequently muttering things hard to hear from the prisoner’s box.

“That’s racist,” he clearly stated at one point after Crown suggested he was a “significant threat to reoffend.”

The incident occurred when Giesbrecht pulled up to a group of people setting up to camp on the street in front of Auld Phillips on Yale Road late Friday night. He asked a woman named Tanisha Gauthier for crack, and when she told him to beat it, he became “angrier and angrier.”

Witnesses said Giesbrecht grabbed Gauthier, and the victim intervened to protect her. An altercation ensured, and Giesbrecht got back into his Acura, drove off, then did a U-turn and drove back, revving his engine yelling at the people camping out to come out onto the road, Wray told the court.

He then got out of his car, according to witnesses, with a utility knife with the blade fully extended. The victim, James, ran away, was attacked and Gauthier told Crown she saw him get up with blood on his neck.

The deep slash ran from the back of his neck to the corner of his mouth, so deep it nicked but did not sever an artery. James was rushed to Chilliwack General Hospital then Abbotsford Hospital for surgery and to receive staples.

“He suffered quite a significant injury to his face,” Wray said. “[He] will likely be scarred, but he will heal.”

After the incident, Giesbrecht fled the scene and when his Acura was seen driving erratically in Abbotsford around 12:45 a.m., he was pulled over by an Abbotsford Police Department (APD) officer. That officer heard via radio the vehicle was sought by Chilliwack police and she approached the vehicle.

The officer reported Giesbrecht became highly agitated.

“He said ‘Do you know who you are f—-ing with?” Wray said. “He began calling [the officer] a crackwhore bitch, and kept repeating, ‘don’t you know who I am?’”

Giesbrecht was arrested, and continued to be belligerent at the Chilliwack detachment yelling profanities and refusing to respond when asked if he understood his Charter rights, according to police.

Giesbrecht’s version of events is that, indeed, he asked the group downtown for drugs, but was approached by “junkies” that ended with an “engagement.”

“He thought they were racists,” Crown said Giesbrecht told police, adding that a fight ensued involving knives on all sides and the victim “got cut by accident when they fell down.”

Acting as duty counsel, Phillip Derksen said Giesbrecht was born in Haiti Aug. 4, 1984 and adopted at eight or nine and raised by a family in Abbotsford. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic and spent considerable time at Colony Farm but he has been fully discharged, and exhibits no signs of mental illness.

Judge Gurmail Gill ordered him released on $2,500 surety, ordered him to reside with his surety confined at all hours unless accompanied with the surety or on written permission from a bail supervisor. Giesbrecht is ordered to not only stay away from James and Gauthier, but he is forbidden to come to Chilliwack except for court appearances.

The Progress has not yet confirmed whether or not Giesbrecht has perfected that $2,500 surety, but by March 9 he had not.

Staff Sgt. Steve Vrolyk of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment RCMP said the incident was “an excellent example of the seamless communication and co-operation which occurs across not only jurisdictions, but also police agencies. We would like to extend our thanks to the Abbotsford Police Department for their ongoing assistance.”

The Chilliwack RCMP are asking for any further witnesses or anyone with information about this incident to call 604-792-4611 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

• RELATED: Two dead following stabbing in downtown Chilliwack in 2017

• RELATED: Targeted stabbing at notorious Chilliwack apartment complex


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs lose Kevin Wall to suspension

The team’s leading scorer was tagged with his second major of the season Sunday and sits four games.

Man charged with attempted murder in Chilliwack River Valley deemed mentally unfit

Father says son has schizophrenia; Law professor say too many with mental illness in jail

Four chances to see Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah in the Valley

Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra brings Handels’ Messiah to Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Aldergrove

United churches come together to share warmth in Chilliwack

Members of Rosedale, Chilliwack and Mt. Shannon united churches donate 100 care packages to homeless

Lots of laughs at Bozzini’s holiday concert in Chilliwack

Double bill performance features rock n’ roll duo Kitty & the Rooster, cabaret musician Shirley Gnome

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Family calls for change after death of B.C. man at St. Paul’s Hospital

Hospital beds for patients with both medical and mental-health issues are ‘very limited’: coroner

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Most Read