Family statement - Alberta Review Board Hearing - De Grood
The following statement is being released on behalf of the families of Jordan Segura, Zackariah Rathwell, Kaiti Perras, Joshua Hunter and Lawrence Hong:
The criminal code in Canada that outlines the treatment and disposition of not criminally responsible offenders, requires an approach that provides a clear path to re-integration into our community, regardless of the offence they have committed. The system is unequivocably broken when very little weight is given to the gravity of the offence.
During the proceedings of the Alberta Review Board hearing we attended today it was made clear that Matthew De Grood’s treatment team is moving quickly to advance this process of re-integrating him into society, including the recommendation that he be granted privileges for day visits to various locations in Calgary including malls, and other facilities. These visits, would be supervised by one staff member (armed only with a cell phone) from the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre but no security personnel would be present. We call on all Albertans, and in particular the people of Calgary that are outraged by these recommendations to speak out by contacting Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice for the government of Alberta at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 780-422-6621. Your children will be at those malls in very close proximity to a multiple murderer.
We, the five families of Lawrence Hong, Joshua Hunter, Kaiti Perras, Zackariah Rathwell and Jordan Segura, remain steadfast in our position that Matthew De Grood should be institutionalized indefinitely and urge the Alberta Review Board to recognize the risk of him being released into society in any capacity, is far too great. We strongly defy anyone that suggests this risk is manageable or acceptable.
The absolute evil and heinous nature of the crime he committed can not be overstated and the prospect of this person being re-integrated into our community is beyond comprehension. Regardless of his mental health now or in the future, we know the full extent of what he is capable of doing and the enormous impact of what he did is something each of us lives with daily. There is no reprieve or closure for us and the magnitude of the unimaginable acts he committed are ever present in our thoughts, in our nightmares and in our lives.
He needs to be treated fairly, humanely and receive care for his illness but at no point should he ever be allowed to walk freely as a member of our community. He lost that right when he savagely murdered 5 amazing young people, a crime that remains unprecedented in our city and unmatched with the Alberta Review Board that oversees the proceedings we just attended.
At what point do we as a society draw the line in determining the boundaries for acceptable risk when such unthinkable things are done. Despite the mental health communities’ best efforts and intentions in wanting to rehabilitate Matthew De Grood, the risk is far too great and there are no absolute guarantees. His own treatment team noted today that should he relapse, the results would be CATASTROPHIC!
There is no cure for schizophrenia and certainly no guarantee that this individual would continue to take his medication if he was ever unsupervised. There is no certainty that this person, under the right circumstances, would not be capable of killing again. In the absence of absolute certainty, and in light of the evil he committed, the only option is to ensure Matthew De Grood is held in full custody on a permanent basis.
To do otherwise would deny our five families and the members of this community, the rights and protections we all expect from our government and legal system. Public safety is the paramount factor in the decision making related to not criminally responsible (NCR) proceedings.