A psychiatric assessment report for Matthew de Grood to determine if he could be held criminally responsible is not yet ready.

The 23-year-old is accused of stabbing five people to death at a university party in northwest Calgary in April. 

De Grood faces five counts of first-degree murder. He was being held at the Alberta Hospital in Edmonton for the psychiatric assessment.

Allan Fay

Matthew de Grood's lawyer Allan Fay says his client is doing the best he can under the circumstances. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

He appeared in a Calgary court briefly via closed-circuit television from the Edmonton Remand Centre on Thursday. 

De Grood stood motionless as the court discussed why a second psychiatric report ordered for him has been delayed. His lawyer Allan Fay told the court the assessment is done, but the report is not ready.

It was ordered last month to help determine whether he could be found criminally responsible for the killings if convicted. 

"It will deal with interviews of my client — psychiatric testing of him," said Fay. "I know his parents were interviewed as well."

The report is being done by a forensic psychologist.

Preliminary hearing set for March

"It's important to know though that this report is opinion evidence from one witness," said Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg. "At the end of the day, the judge or the jury has the final say in determining issues such as this."

He said a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for next March. 

Wiberg said extensions for assessments are common and was likely because of the case load at the Alberta Hospital and the material the report has to consider.

De Grood has already been found fit to stand trial on the basis of one mental health report. He was charged after the April 15 stabbings at a party near the University of Calgary to mark the end of the school year.

Five young people were killed in the early-morning attack:

  • Lawrence Hong, 27.
  • Joshua Hunter, 23.
  • Kaitlin Perras, 23.
  • Zackariah Rathwell, 21.
  • ​Jordan Segura, 22.

The Crown asked for the follow-up report last month when de Grood appeared in court in person for the first time. A docket judge ordered him to be transferred to Edmonton for the 30-day psychiatric assessment.

De Grood will now be transferred back to Calgary but will remain in psychiatric care. He will appear in court again on Sept. 26 via closed-circuit television from the Calgary Remand Centre. 

His lawyer says he is currently on medication but is becoming more lucid about the events that took place that day in April.

"When I last spoke to him he seems to be doing alright — as well as one can expect under these circumstances," said Fay.

With files from The Canadian Press