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Crown seeks 18-year sentence for woman who tried to kill rival in B.C. courtroom

Click to play video: 'Sentencing continues for woman who stabbed foe inside Vancouver courtroom'
Sentencing continues for woman who stabbed foe inside Vancouver courtroom
WATCH: The Crown and defence are a decade apart in their sentence recommendations for Catherine Shen. She was convicted of four counts, including attempted murder, after she stabbed Jing (Becky) Lu in May 2021. The Crown is asking for 16-18 years in prison, the defence wants 6. Rumina Daya reports – Jun 15, 2023

WARNING: This story contains details, including photo and video, that may be disturbing to some readers.

A woman who tried to kill a rival inside a B.C. courtroom with a hammer and a fish knife should spend 16-18 years in prison, prosecutors told a judge on Thursday.

The submissions revealed a wide gulf between what the Crown would like to see, and the six-year sentence Catherine Shen’s defence lawyers feel is appropriate.

Shen was convicted on four counts, including attempted murder, in the attack that left Jing (Becky) Lu with critical injuries.

Click to play video: 'Global News obtains video and photos from violent day in court'
Global News obtains video and photos from violent day in court

The shocking attack unfolded on May 25, 2021, as Shen and Lu were locked in a civil dispute being litigated at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

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On the day of the attack, Shen entered the court carrying the two weapons in her purse. Bag checks and metal detector screenings are not standard at the courthouse, and no one checked the contents of Shen’s purse.

Shen then stabbed Lu multiple times inside the courtroom where the matter was being held, managing at least 10 downward blows with each weapon according to evidence heard at trial.

As the attack unfolded, court Sheriffs rushed to her side and were able to disarm her and take her into custody.

Click to play video: 'Questions about security in B.C. courts after stabbing leaves woman fighting for life'
Questions about security in B.C. courts after stabbing leaves woman fighting for life

Last month, Lu provided a tearful victim impact statement.

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“Even when I was lying on the court floor bleeding, she [Shen] was saying, ‘It’s her fault. It’s her fault,’” she told the court.

“Until today, I am still shocked and fail to understand how a civil case evolved into an event that almost took my life.”

The gruesome attack was the capstone to a long and acrimonious dispute between the two women, involving a decade-long battle over social media.

Click to play video: 'Woman who allegedly stabbed another woman in a B.C. Supreme Courtroom on trial for attempted murder'
Woman who allegedly stabbed another woman in a B.C. Supreme Courtroom on trial for attempted murder

The two women had met on a Chinese website meant to help new immigrants connect.

In delivering her verdict in the case, Justice Catherine Denhoff found Shen guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon.

She also rejected a defence argument that Shen was not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder (NCRMD).

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“It is not enough that Ms. Shen had a mental disorder. Rather, the mental disorder had to have been so severe as to render Ms. Shen incapable of understanding that her actions were wrong,” Denhoff ruled.

Despite this, Shen’s mental health remains a factor in the case, and could affect her ultimate sentence, and the sentencing hearing has been put on hold so the judge can hear further evidence from one of her psychiatrists.

Hearings are slated to resume on Nov. 29.

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