By PAUL TURENNE, QMI Agency
Joe McLeod is no longer behind bars.
The 69-year-old Alzheimer’s patient had been in jail since Sept. 7, when he was charged with assault causing bodily harm for allegedly pushing his wife of 48 years, Rose.
But on Friday provincial court Judge Sandra Chapman granted him bail, agreeing with the Crown and defence, both of whom suggested the Winnipeg Remand Centre was not the right place for the senior.
McLeod was released from jail Friday and will now be placed in a personal-care home, thanks to emergency arrangements made by health officials on Thursday.
McLeod, who appeared at the hearing via video link from the remand centre dressed in his grey jailhouse jumpsuit, thanked Chapman for his release.
“I’ll do my best,” he replied, when asked whether he would comply with his bail conditions.
Rose McLeod told reporters following Friday’s hearing that it’s going to be a happy Thanksgiving for the reunited family.
“I’m going to give him a big hug,” she said shortly before her husband’s release. “I’m so happy.”
Rose and other members of her family had been pressing health officials this week to find a bed in the system for her husband so he could be released on bail, arguing jail is no place for a senior suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
She said Friday that she believes Joe would likely still be in jail had Manitoba Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard not taken the issue to the media Wednesday to increase the pressure.
“He’s been there a month already and they didn’t do much for him,” she said. “(Gerrard) really helped us lots.”
Although the Crown consented to McLeod’s bail, it is still proceeding with the case against him, at least for now.
Crown prosecutor Bruce Sychuk told court he has a strong case against McLeod but added it’s uncertain whether the Crown will continue to pursue the charge.
Rose McLeod reiterated Friday she does not intend to pursue the matter as the complainant. She has always blamed the disease for the incident, not her husband.
Cam Pauls, Joe McLeod’s lawyer, subtly suggested the charges ought to be dropped, telling court Friday that he hopes the Crown will “take a long, hard look at this case.”
Sychuk replied that he’s certainly prepared to do so.
McLeod’s next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 2.