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Prosecutors seek up to 18 years for B.C. woman accused of courtroom stabbing

Catherine Shen enters the Vancouver courtroom where she stabbed her online nemesis in this still from a surveillance video. Catherine Shen enters the Vancouver courtroom where she stabbed her online nemesis in this still from a surveillance video.
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Crown counsel argued Wednesday that the woman who stabbed another woman in a B.C. courtroom should face between 15 and 18 years behind bars.

Fifty-six-year-old Catherine Shen, who was 53 at the time, was convicted of stabbing her online arch nemesis, Jing (Becky) Lu in May of 2021, while the two appeared before a judge for a defamation lawsuit.

Shen appeared emotionless Wednesday as Crown recounted the incident that occurred more than two years ago.

“Not only did Miss Shen have a specific intent to kill, she planned to do it, and went about executing that plan with deception and stealth,” Crown prosecutor Jacinta Lawton told the courtroom.

Shen and Lu were both suing each other. The women were involved in a heated online feud on a Chinese website meant to connect immigrants that had gone on for 16 years.

Video surveillance footage from the day shows Shen walking into B.C. Supreme Court carrying a bag, which was later determined to contain a fillet knife and a hammer.

She’s seen speaking with security personnel upon entry, but at the time, it was not mandatory for court attendees to undergo bag checks or pass through metal detectors.

Once in the court room, Shen attacked Lu with both weapons. According to the evidence, there were at least 10 downward blows with each weapon.

Shen was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and possession of weapon.

Lawton acknowledged Shen did consume alcohol ahead of the attack, but said it was not enough for her to appear visibly impaired. Instead it served as "liquid courage" for her to perform her "targeted and brutal" attack, the Crown prosecutor said.

“It was a planned and deliberate attempt to kill someone,” said Lawton, who argued the court must denounce this act of violence in the most serious way.

The defence is seeking a six-year sentence and is expected to present its case Thursday. At that time, the judge is also expected to decide on Shen’s sentence. 

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