Doctor asks consent to treat Layman outside hospital

Federal review board to render decision in a few weeks

Published on March 1, 2016
Louis Power/The Telegram
Nicholas Layman sits in court in a recent file photo. Layman’s doctor is seeking permission to take Layman on outings outside the hospital to facilitate his rehabilitation.

Less than a month after Nicholas Layman was found not criminally responsible for stabbing a boy on a soccer field, his doctor is taking steps to boost his rehabilitation.

In a hearing with a federal review board, held Tuesday at the Waterford Hospital to discuss Layman’s case, Dr. Jasbir Gill requested permission to take Layman outside the hospital for treatment if needed.

“She would like to have the freedom to engage other therapeutic activity that’s deemed appropriate outside the hospital,” Layman’s lawyer Mark Gruchy told The Telegram.

“It’s a request for a very conservative expansion to what she’s able to do with Nicholas to treat him. Dr. Gill would just like to have that option.”

The 20-year-old Layman was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon as a result of a stabbing that happened Sept. 25, 2014, at a Conception Bay South soccer field.

Layman ran out onto the field with a knife, stabbed an 11-year-old boy several times in the neck and back and took off. He was found a short time later up the road at his parents’ house and taken into custody.

He’s admitted that it happened.

However, a provincial court judge agreed that Layman had a “disease of mind” and was incapable of knowing his actions were wrong.

The judge heard evidence that Layman had been battling psychosis for years and was hospitalized in the past. He experienced worsening symptoms of schizophrenia leading up to the stabbing.

Layman was hearing voices and experienced paranoid delusions.

Gill has been Layman’s treating psychiatrist for many months since he’s been in custody.

Gruchy was also at Tuesday’s hearing, along with Crown prosecutor Frances Knickle.

“Our submission, based on Nicholas’s progress, is that there won’t be any clear safety risks,  having a two-for-one staff-patient ratio,” Gruchy said.

He said outside treatment may include participating in programming at another hospital or visits to various other places to help him with day-to-day living.

“(Doctors) don’t want him to become institutionalized,” Gruchy said. “He needs to learn how to deal with stressors and reintegrate into society.”

Gruchy said the board members indicated they would render a decision within the next few weeks.

The board is made up of five people — chairman, retired provincial court chief judge Reg Reid, along with three psychiatrists: Dr. Neil Young, Dr. Christine Caravan and Dr. John Angel, as well as counsellor Peggy Hatcher.

Known as the Criminal Code mental disorder review board, it  deals with individuals accused of committing a crime who have either been found unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder.