De Grood to be transferred to hospital for assessment
The man accused of stabbing five people to death in northwest Calgary this past April appeared in court on Tuesday morning.
Matthew de Grood appeared in person in the courtroom, with the Crown requesting he be transferred to Alberta Hospital in Edmonton to be assessed to see if he is criminally responsible.
The judge presiding over the hearing granted the request.
The assessment is expected to last 30 days, with a final report due on August 29.
Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg said that they proceeded with the assessment for criminal responsibility for two reasons.
"He's been committed under the Mental Health Act and the report from the psychiatrist on fitness to stand trial recommended that a report be done on criminal responsibility," Wiberg said.
He says the next step in the proceedings is the preliminary hearing, scheduled for next March. "When the report comes back to determine criminal responsibility, that doesn't affect the preliminary hearing. That might be relevant at the trial, but it's best to get that report done now."
Wiberg says that the Crown has been in contact with family and friends of the victims. "Obviously, it's very difficult for them. They suffered a tragic loss but our office meets with the victims and tries to keep them informed as best we can on the court process."
De Grood's lawyer, Allan Fay clarified the assessments his client has already undergone, saying the first assessment was to determine if he was fit to stand trial and understood the process.
"This assessment is to determine whether, in the opinion of a psychiatrist, at the time of the offences, my client was considered criminally responsible, in other words, did he have the necessary intent or did he lack it through mental disease."
If the report comes back as de Grood not being criminally responsible for his actions, that doesn't mean that he won't have a trial. It will just allow the defence to argue that as a defence at trial.
As for his client, Fay says that he is 'nervous'. "Clearly, he's been in custody since this occurred and he will continue to be in custody for a long time. As he is treated further, I believe he becomes more lucid and the impact of what he's facing really comes home to him."
De Grood's parents have also had regular contact with him since his last hearing. "His parents visit with him on a regular basis. It's vital, it's absolutely essential and I think it goes a long way to helping him through this process."
Fay says his parents have good days and bad days, but continue to support their son 100 percent.
De Grood, 22, is charged with five counts of first degree murder in connection with the deaths of five young people, Jordan Segura, Josh Hunter, Kaiti Perras, Zackariah Rathwell, and Lawrence Hong.
All five people were stabbed to death at a house party celebrating the end of classes on April 15.
De Grood was found fit to stand trial on May 22.
A Crown prosecutor has been brought in from Edmonton because de Grood is the son of senior Calgary police officer.
The preliminary hearing in March will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with a formal trial.