Man who killed mother's partner gets review board's OK for unsupervised time out of Waterford

Three months after a Supreme Court justice found him not criminally responsible in the death of his mother's partner, a review board has signed off on a plan to allow Graham Veitch unsupervised time away from the Waterford Hospital, but it will be up to doctors to determine whether to grant such privileges. 

CBC News has obtained a copy of an order issued Oct. 2 by the Criminal Code Mental Disorder Review Board.

It permits Veitch's treatment team to allow him to leave the hospital on his own for an hour at a time, four times a day, "when clinically appropriate."

Veitch was charged with second-degree murder and four related offences in the 2016 bludgeoning death of 55-year-old David Collins, who shared a home with Veitch, as well as Veitch's mother and brother. 

On July 4, Justice Sandra Chaytor found Veitch not criminally responsible for the killing and ruled he be placed under supervision at the Waterford Hospital for rehabilitation.

What is 'clinically appropriate'?

The review board met Oct. 1 and heard from psychiatrist Jasbir Gill, who also submitted a written report. 

Mark Gruchy, a lawyer who represents Graham Veitch, declined to speak about the specifics of the review board order, because the board's full decision with its reasons has yet to be released. 

Generally speaking, when a person is found not criminally responsible forensic psychiatrists and other medical professional develop a plan to rehabilitate the individual, Gruchy said. 

Eddy Kennedy/CBC

The goal is to reintegrate the patient into society. Doctors will allow the person more freedom within the hospital, then plan supervised trips outside, before finally allowing a patient to leave on their own. 

"We're talking about a very slowly unfolding process that goes over the course of the year."

Gruchy said that even though the review board has granted permission, Veitch's medical team could still decide unsupervised time away is inappropriate.

Collins family speaks

The board received eight victim impact statements from members of David Collins's family.

"I believe I have suffered psychological trauma brought on by how he died," wrote sister Cathy Collins. 

Bailey White/CBC

"He did nothing to bring harm to himself and that's a burden to carry for those of us who loved him. It was a bolt from the blue that has had an impact on me personally and by extension my children and family."

Another sibling, Patrick Collins, wrote that the family is still struggling to come to grips with the loss.

"A piece of us was taken away and, try as we might, we may never fully understand the deed that led to Dave's death."

The review board's order outlines several conditions Veitch must follow. He is not allowed to have any weapons and he can't use alcohol or drugs he isn't prescribed. 

Veitch has to submit to drug tests and will live in a locked unit, or "the jail within the Waterford Hospital," as Gruchy described it. 

"It is a prison, basically, with has a mental health care element to it."

The conditions are subject to change at the next review board hearing, which is typically scheduled a year after the last meeting. 

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