Nova Scotia’s health minister says the government will soon decide whether to launch a pilot project where potentially violent psychiatric patients wear GPS bracelets when out on passes in the community.
It’s a key demand of the family of Raymond Taavel, who have renewed their calls for better monitoring of patients at risk to themselves or others while out on temporarily passes from the East Coast Forensic Hospital.
Taavel was killed April 17, 2012, outside a Halifax bar. Andre Noel Denny, a 34-year-old man from Membertou, faces a second-degree murder charge in Taavel's death.
At the time of Taavel's death, Denny was a psychiatric patient at the East Coast Forensic Hospital and had failed to return to the hospital after being granted a one-hour leave. Denny's trial is set to begin in September 2014.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Leo Glavine said officials have studied the monitoring model in the United Kingdom and will soon conclude whether or not the province should go ahead with a pilot project.
"When I look at what happened to Raymond Taavel, the call on the department is to look at every means to strengthen public safety and also continue to be dedicated to patient rehabilitation at the East Coast Forensic Hospital," Glavine told the CBC's Information Morning.
However, Glavine said there are questions that need to be answered around legal issues and requirements of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"I’d hate to be down the road of finding that the pilot is in fact a good measure to implement in the province and then be told, ‘No, this is not going to be permitted,’ and there’s a challenge that comes forward," Glavine said.