Crown says church attacker drank Bishop’s blood

| October 27, 2010

The mentally ill man accused of attacking and stabbing a Kamloops, B.C., Roman Catholic bishop may not be fit to even consult with his lawyer, Crown Cousel said Monday.

Thirty-year-old John Bandura staggered with his hands clasped tightly around his head as he was led into a provincial courtroom this morning.

He is charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and mischief in connection with the attack that saw a prominent member of the church stabbed in the neck with a pen.

In a pre-trial hearing today, the Crown told the court how Bandura's family had attempted to have him committed to the psychiatric ward of Royal Inland Hospital.

Bandura was voluntarily admitted to hospital Friday. He could have left on his own, but Crown said he broke through a glass window before allegedly heading to the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kamloops, where Bishop David Munroe was stabbed in the throat with a pen and struck with other objects in the kitchen area of the church rectory. Munroe was severely beaten after answering a knock on the door.

Crown prosecutor Stephen Lawhead also alleges the attacker drank some of his victim's blood.

Lawhead said Bandura told police he was "listening to voices in my head," and he confessed to the violence.

Crown says Bandura then swam across the river before the arrest at a mobile home park.

Justice Sheri Donegan granted a 30-day psychiatric assessment as to whether Bandura is mentally able to even consult with his lawyer.

"Right now there's a real issue whether he can actually instruct a lawyer right now," Lawhead told CTV News outside the courtroom.

"Based on his demeanor in court it's a live issue and we'll have to wait and see what the psychiatrists say."

Meanwhile, Munroe's condition is described as serious but stable.

Priest Vincent Asomugha says while the parish is praying the Bishop will make a full recovery, they're also praying for forgiveness for the accused.

"It's to forgive, no matter what. There's nothing we can do that can reverse what's already happened, but we still trust," Asomugha said.

Bandura's next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 25.

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Category: Church Security

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