POLITICS

Nova Scotia will not use GPS on forensic mental health patients on leaves

01/22/2015 09:30 EST | Updated 03/24/2015 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government says it will not use tracking devices for forensic mental health patients after reports raised concerns about it.

The government says it began gathering information about the technology after a patient at a local forensic hospital was alleged to have committed a homicide in April 2012 while absent without leave.

Andre Noel Denny was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Raymond Taavel and his trial is scheduled to begin in October.

Denny was on a one-hour unescorted leave from the East Coast Forensic Hospital the night Taavel died.

The government says the reports looked at the effectiveness of GPS monitoring for mental health patients and analyzed potential legal issues.

Constance MacIntosh of the Dalhousie Health Law Institute says electronic monitoring would not likely withstand a legal challenge.

Health Minister Leo Glavine says there is also the risk of increasing stigma for mental health patients and rising costs.

The findings suggest there is little evidence the technology decreases violations of leaves and violence.