Mentally ill suspect slips Health department custody

A violent, mentally unstable man facing criminal charges escaped from government custody earlier this week.

A violent, mentally unstable man facing criminal charges escaped from government custody earlier this week.

At press time, Whitehorse RCMP would not confirm or deny that Chad Daniel Carlyle is still at large.

The Yukon Review Board ordered Carlyle, 37, into the custody of Health and Social Services after a court hearing on Tuesday.

Carlyle “continues to pose a significant risk to the safety of the public,” reads the review board order that sent Carlyle to Whitehorse General Hospital in the custody of the Health department.

The order requires Carlyle to be placed in a psychiatric hospital as soon as possible, but notes that no such facility exists in the Yukon.

Therefore, he was committed to Whitehorse General as a “designated hospital facility”.

By 2 p.m. Thursday, Carlyle had escaped from government custody, according to officials with the Justice department.

“He is at large,” Justice spokeswoman Barb McLeod said Thursday.

“He is missing.

“If he were recaptured, we would have been informed.”

However, because of his mental disorder Carlyle was in the custody of the Health department, not Justice or the RCMP.

Health spokeswoman Pat Living refused to acknowledge Carlyle’s escape.

“We are bound by legislation to protect personal information,” said Living.

“When we are asked questions about specific individuals we can neither confirm nor deny that information.”

Asked if Health officials even knew where Carlyle was, Living said: “I can’t answer that question.

“I don’t believe that there is anyone that could answer that without feeling that they had breached the confidentiality.”

RCMP said officers were not looking for Carlyle Thursday afternoon.

“We’ve got nothing on Carlyle,” Sgt. Roger Lockwood said at about 3 p.m.

Carlyle had been charged with assault and uttering death threats during an altercation with two men in Whitehorse in September 2005.

In November 2005, territorial court judge Heino Lilles found Carlyle “not criminally responsible” for his actions, and unfit to stand trial “because of a mental disorder.”

Carlyle’s court file indicates that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, as well as addictions to street drugs and alcohol.

“If you did the thing but you’re found not criminally responsible because you have a mental disorder, then you go into the other stream, where you’re not being punished anymore, you’re being dealt with as someone who has a medical problem,” said Crown counsel David McWhinnie.

“They placed him at the (Adult Resource Centre) and he had been there for a period of time.

“It appears, from what I understand, that relationship broke down, so the ARC was not able or not willing to have him there anymore.”

There is no accredited facility in the Yukon for people like Carlyle, said McWhinnie.

“There are two designated facilities. One is the Whitehorse hospital, and one is the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

“They’ve been designated because the territorial government has essentially signed the appropriate paperwork.

“The difficulty is, neither one of those is an accredited psychiatric institution.”

There is a room at the Whitehorse jail for temporarily detaining mentally ill people who are accused of committing crimes, but it is not a treatment facility, he said.

And Whitehorse General Hospital is not a secure psychiatric facility, said McWhinnie.

“Whitehorse General is not that kind of a hospital.

“Evidence came out during the hearing that if (Carlyle) chose to leave, they don’t have the ability or the inclination to stop him.

“If he chose to, they would call the police, presumably.”

The Health department has an arrangement with the Alberta Hospital near Edmonton, AB, to send mentally ill Yukon patients for treatment, said Living.

“The level of services required by some individuals are such that they don’t exist in the territory,” she said.

“We have an agreement or a working relationship with Alberta Hospital.

“We’re very fortunate that they are able to accommodate our needs.

“This does not happen regularly. We don’t have the need for this kind of service to the extent that we would have to look at a facility ourselves.”

But there is no guarantee that the Alberta Hospital must take Yukon patients, said Living.