Nova Scotia

Unescorted passes granted to man who killed mother and grandparents

Nova Scotia's Criminal Code Review Board held a hearing Tuesday into whether Codey Hennigar, 33, should be allowed out of a secure psychiatric hospital unsupervised.

Codey Reginald Hennigar found not criminally responsible, remains at psychiatric hospital

Codey Hennigar is seen at a Criminal Code Review Board hearing in 2017. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's Criminal Code Review Board has approved unescorted day passes for a man found not criminally responsible for killing his mother and two grandparents.

The passes will allow Codey Hennigar to leave the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, N.S., for brief periods.

Hennigar, 33, was arrested in January 2015 after the bodies of his mother, Ann Ward, and her parents, Bill and Ida Ward, were found inside the burnt remains of their home in Wyses Corner, N.S.

He has been at the secure psychiatric hospital since not long after his arrest, and last year was found not criminally responsible on three counts of first-degree murder.

Hennigar has already been out of the hospital while escorted by staff. The team treating him proposed he be allowed out on unescorted trips, and argued the passes would help prepare Hennigar for gradual reintegration into society.

The Criminal Code Review Board conducted a hearing Tuesday in Halifax to consider the hospital's request to grant the leave privileges. Members of Hennigar's family are opposed to him getting release privileges.

Strict conditions

Due to concerns expressed by family and community members at Tuesday's hearing, Hennigar's release comes with strict conditions.

In addition to the requirement to provide an itinerary and keep in contact with hospital staff, he must stay away from the Musquodoboit Valley, where the crimes occured. The Crown also provided the board with a long list of names of family and community members who do not wish to have contact with Hennigar.

Because of the number of people who wanted to watch and speak at the hearing, and security concerns expressed by board chair Peter Lederman, the board arranged to hold its hearing in a courtroom at the Law Courts in downtown Halifax.

People entering the courthouse, including a large contingent of family and community members, had to pass through a metal detector on their way into the building.

The CBC's Blair Rhodes was live blogging from the hearing. Those on mobile can follow along here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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