Review board orders Despres to remain at Shepody for now

WATCH ABOVE: Gregory Despres will stay at the Shepody Healing Centre for now, but as Global’s Alex Abdelwahab reports, there’s a chance he will be moving soon.

MONCTON – The New Brunswick Review Board ordered that Gregory Despres remain at the Shepody Healing Centre for the time being.

The decision was made Friday afternoon.

But the board will hold another review in the coming months to decide if Despres can be transferred to a less secure hospital facility.

Despres was found not criminally responsible in the brutal deaths of Fred Fulton and Verna Decarie in Minto, N.B. in April 2005.

Family members of both Fulton and Decarie were also in the courtroom, and 12 of them submitted victim impact statements.

Decarie’s daughter Sandra Martin was crying as she told the hearing that she missed her mother’s Sunday morning calls, her cooking and hugs.

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“Time does not heal all wounds,” she said. “It doesn’t make you forgive. It doesn’t make you forget.”

Dr. Louis Thériault, consulting psychiatrist at Shepody Healing Centre also spoke.

He told the Review Board that in the last year, Despres’ medication had been changed, and said he did not believe that Despres was in any condition to be released into the community.

He said, however, that Despres could be dealt with in secure treatment centre, as he does comply with orders to take his medication when he is monitored by medical staff.

Despres has been held at Shepody since the verdict in March 2008, but recent changes at the Shepody Healing Centre by the federal government mean Despres and other NCR patients may be moved to another facility.

Bruce MacFarlane, spokesperson for Department of Health, confirmed Friday that New Brunswick has reached an agreement with the federal government to extend the deadline for the treatment of NCR patients currently at Shepody to March 31, 2016.

There has been no decision yet regarding where they could be housed after this date, though the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton is the most likely place.

Friday’s review board hearing included a video link from Campbellton with three representatives from the Restigouche Hospital Centre, who expressed concern that they did not have the necessary security measures to house Despres.

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Marc Guitard, a social worker at Restigouche, told the hearing that a previous security assessment had found their 30-day forensic assessment unit to be medium security, while their regular hospital facilities were assessed at minimum security.

He said the centre would be undergoing a new security assessment in the next week, but did not believe there would be much change in the results.

Guitard said Despres could not be housed in the 30-day forensic unit and if he were transferred would be with the general hospital population.

The Review Board will hold another hearing within the next six to eight months to consider the independent security assessment, which will be completed by the Atlantic Security Group.

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