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Matthew de Grood’s lawyer hopes for reintegration as review board meets to assess progress

By Scott Strasser, April 4 2017 —

The Alberta Review Board tasked with assessing Matthew de Grood’s treatment will receive an update this week on the former University of Calgary student’s progress.

Last May, de Grood was found not criminally responsible (NCR) on account of a mental disorder for the fatal stabbings of five Calgary post-secondary students at a house party in Brentwood on April 15, 2014.

An NCR verdict applies to those who have committed a crime, but cannot understand that what they did was wrong due to their mental condition.

The victims included Lawrence Hong, Joshua Hunter, Kaitlin Perras, Zackariah Rathwell and Jordan Segura. Hong, Hunter and Segura attended the U of C, while Perras and Rathwell studied at Mount Royal University and the Alberta College of Art and Design, respectively.

The review board is tasked with monitoring de Grood’s progress and determining if or when he is fit to be reintegrated into society. The board includes Alberta provincial court Judge Allan Lefever, two psychiatrists, a member of the legal community and a lay-person.

Psychiatrists who testified at de Grood’s trial last year claimed he showed heavy signs of schizophrenia and likely suffered a psychotic episode the night he carried out the murders. De Grood has been held at a secure psychiatric facility since then.

De Grood’s first review board hearing took place in July 2016. The panel heard impact statements from the victims’ families and submissions from de Grood’s psychiatric treatment team.

De Grood’s defence lawyer Allan Fay said last week that de Grood has been a “model patient” and that he would like to see his client gradually reintegrated into society.

“I think we’ve reached the point where he should receive more privileges so he can continue to demonstrate he’s not a risk,” Fay told Global News on March 29.

In the lead up to this week’s review board hearing, the families of the five victims reiterated that they wish de Grood to be given a high-risk NCR designation, meaning the board would only assess de Grood’s treatment every three years.

“He killed five people in under two minutes,” Rathwell’s mother Ronda-Lee told Global News last week. “I don’t know how any doctor can play God like that and say we know for a fact that he will never do this again.”

April 15 will mark the three-year anniversary of the Brentwood tragedy. The house party at which the killings occurred was meant to celebrate the last day of classes.

Following the tragedy, the U of C created three $1,000 scholarships in memory of the victims. The scholarships include the Lawrence Hong Scholarship in Urban Studies, the Joshua Hunter Scholarship in Business and the Jordan Segura Scholarship in Religious Studies.

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