Former UBC student who stabbed another student freed from Forensic Psychiatric Hospital

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      The 20-year-old male at the centre of a high-profile stabbing on UBC's Point Grey campus has been allowed to return to his home country of Saudi Arabia.

      Two members of a British Columbia Review Board panel concluded in December that Thamer Almestadi "is not a significant threat to public safety", based on a plan for him to be monitored, supervised, and treated in the city of Jeddah.

      In October, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Margot Fleming ruled that Almestadi was not criminally responsible for a knife attack on a fellow student because he was suffering from a mental disorder.

      Almastadi had been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon. 

      In November, an exclusion order was issued declaring that Almestadi would be deported to Saudi Arabia should he be discharged from care.

      The B.C. Review Board ruling stated that he began harbouring delusional thoughts and stopped attending classes before the attack in October 2016.

      His victim, a female student, lived in the same UBC residence complex.

      When interviewed by police, Almestadi expressed remorse; an expert witness later concluded that he was suffering from psychosis.

      The B.C. Review Board ruling stated that he has been free of psychosis for over a year and has a less than 50 percent chance of experiencing another episode.

      His family presented a treatment plan for their son in Saudi Arabia, with a psychiatrist who has hospital admitting privileges.

      "He proposes to engage in a program of psychoeducation with the family and the accused, including about the warning signs of a relapse," the ruling states. "He offers to remain in direct communication with the accused and family members and is willing to see the accused weekly. A home care program is available to attend the family home."

      In a dissenting opinion, board member Paula Cayley noted that Almestadi was in a "homicidal frenzy at the time of the attack".

      She added that the "motivation for the attack is not well understood", nor why he chose his specific victim.

      Cayley concluded that there is a "high" risk of another psychotic break and that "a period of custody is required".