Langley woman accused of killing daughter collapses in court
Warning: disturbing content
VANCOUVER -- The murder trial of a Langley, B.C. woman accused of killing her young daughter adjourned abruptly on Wednesday morning after the accused suddenly collapsed in court.
Kerry Ann Lewis is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her seven-year-old daughter, Aaliyah Rosa.
Just before Lewis’s collapse, the judge had been telling the court she wanted a preliminary assessment of her mental fitness done at the institution where she is being held.
The court heard Justice Martha Devlin had also made the request on Tuesday, after the defence raised concerns about Lewis’s state. However, on Wednesday prosecutor Chris McPherson informed the court the assessment was not done as requested.
Defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford then told the court Lewis was feeling better and would be able to proceed, though she still wanted an assessment of her client.
Justice Devlin said an assessment still needed to happen, considering the "very grave concerns" that had been raised previously, and out of an abundance of caution with a view to ensuring Lewis receives a fair trial.
“I think the desire to press ahead isn’t the priority,” Devlin said. “The priority is determining Ms. Lewis’s fitness, at least on a preliminary basis.”
Suddenly, there was a crashing noise and Lewis could no longer be seen sitting in her seat in the box. Sheriffs attended and when they opened the door of the box, Lewis could be seen lying on the floor.
The sheriff said Lewis was conscious, breathing, and communicating with him, later saying she said she hit her head.
At that point, the courtroom was cleared. When it was reopened, Lewis was no longer there.
The court heard emergency responders had been called to assess Lewis. Later outside the courthouse, paramedics could be seen loading someone on a stretcher into an a ambulance, which was then followed by a sheriff’s vehicle. CTV News has confirmed Lewis was taken to hospital.
Before proceedings adjourned for the day, Justice Devlin reiterated she wanted Lewis to undergo a preliminary assessment as to her mental fitness.
The trial, which began Oct. 26, is not sitting tomorrow, but is scheduled to reconvene on Friday.
The Crown has said they intend to prove Lewis sedated and then drowned her daughter in a bathtub, after picking the little girl up from her ex-husband for a scheduled visit on July 22, 2018. The defence has not yet presented its case.