Vet­er­ans Af­fairs pay­ing for killer’s PTSD ther­apy

PressReader - Tke Channel - Vet­er­ans Af­fairs pay­ing for killer’s PTSD ther­apy
HAL­I­FAX• A Hal­i­fax man con­victed of stran­gling an off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer and us­ing a com­post bin to dis­pose of her body is re­ceiv­ing treat­ment in prison for post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der — and Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Canada is pay­ing for it.The ar­range­ment has drawn crit­i­cism from the vic­tim’s aunt, Mandy Reekie Wong, who says vet­er­ans should be out­raged that Christo­pher Garnier is get­ting funded treat­ment, even though he is not a vet­eran.“There are ac­tual vet­er­ans who re­turned from war, or mul­ti­ple wars, and they are killing them­selves be­cause they can’t get help for the PTSD they suf­fer from through no fault of their own,” Reekie Wong said in a re­cent Face­book post.She did not re­spond Tues­day to a re­quest for an in­ter­view.At a court hear­ing this month, Crown lawyer Chris­tine Driscoll con­firmed the con­victed mur­derer is be­ing seen by a pri­vate psy­chol­o­gist, and that Vet­er­ans Af­fairs is cov­er­ing the cost be­cause Garnier’s fa­ther is a vet­eran who has also been di­ag­nosed with PTSD.Driscoll said any of­fender with an ill­ness, whether phys­i­cal or men­tal, has to be treated while in cus­tody.Garnier was con­victed in De­cem­ber of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and in­ter­fer­ing with a dead body in the Septem­ber 2015 death of 36-year-old Cather­ine Camp­bell.On Aug. 13, a Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court judge de­cided Garnier would be able to ap­ply for pa­role after serv­ing 13.5 years — less 699 days for time served.Garnier’s lawyer has ar­gued that his client’s men­tal ill­ness was brought on by the mur­der.In sub­mis­sions filed with the court, de­fence lawyer Joel Pink said a psy­chi­a­trist hired by the de­fence, Dr. Stephen Hucker, said in a re­port that Garnier suf­fered from acute stress dis­or­der im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing Camp­bell’s death.“The tes­ti­mony of Dr. Hucker clearly in­di­cates that there is a strong link be­tween Mr. Garnier’s ill­ness and his in­ter­fer­ence with hu­man re­mains; there­fore, it should be con­sid­ered a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor in his sen­tenc­ing (on that charge),” Pink said in his sub­mis­sions to Jus­tice Joshua Arnold.Garnier re­peat­edly told the jury he did not re­mem­ber us­ing a large green com­post bin to dis­pose of the woman’s body near a Hal­i­fax bridge, where it stayed un­de­tected for nearly five days.Dur­ing trial, the jury was told Garnier met Camp­bell for the first time at a down­town Hal­i­fax bar on Sept. 11, 2015. Hours later she was dead in an apart­ment.Vet­er­ans Af­fairs is­sued a state­ment Tues­day say­ing it couldn’t com­ment on any spe­cific case, but it con­firmed the rel­a­tives of vet­er­ans are el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for PTSD treat­ment.“When a man or woman serves in Canada’s Armed Forces or the RCMP, their whole fam­ily serves with them,” the depart­ment said. “That is why the gov­ern­ment of Canada has made it a pri­or­ity to not only im­prove ben­e­fits and ser­vices for our na­tion’s vet­er­ans, but for their fam­i­lies as well.”The fed­eral depart­ment said coun­selling and other ser­vices can be of­fered to rel­a­tives when it is de­ter­mined such a move will help the vet­eran achieve their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion goals.

Christo­pher Garnier

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