Psychiatric assessment of Calgary man who allegedly stabbed five friends to death under publication ban — (National Post)

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National Post

Daryl Slade, Postmedia News

September 26, 2014

Matthew de Grood psychiatric assessment not released

The public may not know until trial whether or not medical experts have come to the opinion that accused killer Matthew de Grood could be deemed not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder for the stabbing deaths of five young people at a University of Calgary year-end party last spring.

Provincial court Judge Joanne Durant issued an interim publication ban on reports by two psychiatrists and a psychologist that were delivered to the court, Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg and defence lawyer Allan Fay early Friday morning.

Wiberg said he was seeking the ban because the case will ultimately be heard by a jury and the expert opinions are, at this stage, only witness evidence, and there is concern if the opinion were released it could taint a jury pool.

De Grood, 22, who appeared by closed-circuit television from Calgary Remand Centre, rocked back and forth to his left and right during the four separate hearings delayed to seek case law on such an application. He only spoke each time court was called to order, saying “yes, I can,” when the judge asked him if he could see and hear her and the lawyers.

His father — longtime city police officer Doug de Grood — and mother sat in the front row of the courtroom with friends.

Several family members and friends of the victims sat in the courtroom during the short segments that spread over more than two hours.

Wiberg had sought the not criminal responsibility opinions more than two months ago because of statements from witnesses that hinted that could be a possibility.

Durant adjourned the case to Oct. 7 to speak to the publication ban becoming indefinite.

De Grood faces five counts of first-degree murder in connection with the incident at a Brentwood home on April 15. He is charged with the deaths of Lawrence Hong, 27; Josh Hunter, 23; Kaitlin Perras, 23; Zackariah Rathwell, 21; and Jordan Segura, 22, as they celebrated the final day of classes at the University of Calgary.

It is the worst mass murder in Calgary history.

De Grood had been held at Alberta Hospital in Edmonton during the assessment period, then was moved back to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre, but Fay said he will likely now remain at the remand centre as he is no longer under the Mental Health Act.

Fay said his client is on medication, but he did not say what drugs he is taking.

The issue of criminal responsibility will not be part of the preliminary hearing, which begins March 2 at provincial court, but will arise at trial before a judge and jury.

Note:  Matthew’s 2-week trial is set to begin May 16, 2016