A courtroom at B.C. Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver was behind police tape on Tuesday following a stabbing that sent a woman to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
According to sources, a woman walked into Courtroom 32 on Tuesday morning with a fish knife and a hammer in her purse.
A court clerk had just opened the doors for a contempt of court hearing that was set to begin at 10 a.m. in an ongoing civil suit involving two women in their 50s who barely know each other.
“It’s alleged that one person stabbed another person a number of times, causing serious and life-threatening injuries,” Sgt. Steve Addison with Vancouver police said.
“A staff member at the courthouse did hit the panic alarm, which caused the sheriffs to arrive. Sheriffs were able to take custody of the person who allegedly did the assault and hold onto that person until VPD arrived.”
According to court records, Catherine Shen and Jing Lu have been engaged in a “verbal war” on social media for more than a decade.
The battle escalated after they filed lawsuits against one another for defamation, breach of privacy, and emotional distress.
Lu was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. She is expected to survive, Vancouver police said Wednesday.
Shen appeared in court on Wednesday morning and faces a charge of aggravated assault.
The incident has raised serious questions about courtroom safety as there are no mandatory security and weapons checks for people entering Supreme Court in Vancouver, as is the case in other courthouses across the province. In Vancouver’s B.C. Supreme Court building, checks are done on a case-by-case basis, depending on the security risk.
A spokesperson for B.C.’s attorney general said in a statement that it will be reviewing the incident to determine what, if any, further measures may be taken.
— With files from Rumina Daya