Nova Scotia

Delayed notice of missing N.S. patient criticized

The search for a missing patient from the East Coast Forensic Hospital turned into a political issue on Tuesday as opposition leaders criticized the government for the time it took to notify the public of her absence.

Amy Ogilvie didn't return to the East Coast Forensic Hospital after leaving on a day pass Friday

Amy Elizabeth Ogilvie did not return to the East Coast Forensic Hospital as scheduled. (Capital District Health Authority)

The Capital District Health Authority says a missing patient from the East Coast Forensic Hospital was last seen Friday night at 8:30 p.m.

The Health authority told CBC News that Amy Elizabeth Ogilvie, 21, was out on a day pass and was supposed to return to the hospital by 9:30.  Halifax Regional Police spent the weekend looking for the woman.

The search has focused on the Kentville area, where Ogilvie has a basement apartment. Capital Health said Ogilvie is sometimes given overnight passes and allowed to stay in the apartment.

Court documents show on May 1, 2011 Ogilvie was caught trying to take a little boy out of a cart in a grocery store. The documents say Ogilvie said she wanted to be arrested as a child molester, so she could be harassed – or shanked – in jail. The judge found her not criminally responsible because of her mental disorder.

In March, Ogilvie was given a conditional discharge by the Criminal Code Review Board, which granted her a wider range of access to the community.

Capital Health said Monday Ogilvie could be a risk to herself and others the longer she's out of treatment.

Kentville Police said they had several leads and were investigating tips from the public.

Opposition critical of response

The search for Ogilvie turned into a political issue on Tuesday as opposition leaders criticized the government for the time it took to notify the public of her absence.

The Department of Justice has said there is a 72-hour notification policy, but the leader of the Opposition said that's not enough.

"It's hard to believe that we went through the entire weekend without any notification that this patient had not returned," said Stephen McNeil, leader of the Nova Scotia Liberals.

"Quite frankly, this patient — who potentially could be of harm to herself or others — I believe for her safety, we should know to be able to identify and have this person back in treatment."

"I'm aware that this individual has been in our system for close to a year and this is not the only pass this individual has had," said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald.

Temporary pass system under review

The policies and procedures of the temporary pass system at the hospital have been under review by the provincial government since the release of Andre Denny, who is facing a second-degree murder in the death of Raymond Taavel.

Denny was overdue from a one-hour pass from the hospital when Taavel died outside a Halifax bar on April 17.

"We've said from the very beginning there should've been different protocols put in place in and around these releases, making sure there's better tracking, surveillance, making sure that we understood where people were at all times during the investigation and review process," McNeil told CBC News on Tuesday.

"We believe that review should be taking place by an independent body."

MacDonald said she wanted to wait for the review to be completed before commenting further.

"It's a balance between public safety and the rights of the patients. These people have not been convicted of any criminal offence and they are not criminals in our criminal justice system," she told reporters.

"I recognize there are public safety concerns so that's why we have a review underway."

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