PSYCH257 Lecture Notes - Borden Ladner Gervais, Lists Of Landmark Court Decisions, Penetanguishene
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MENTAL HEALTH & THE LAW
Associate at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Forensic Mental Health System
Governs Persons Found Not Criminally Responsible for a Crime
What is an “NCR” verdict?
o It is not a verdict of guilt.
o Acknowledgment that people who commit criminal acts under the
influence of mental illness should not be held criminally responsible for
their acts or omissions.
o But it is also not an acquittal.
o Person referred to as an “accused”.
Goal of Forensic System: Assessment and Treatment
Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision in
o Landmark decision on the constitutionality of Part XX.1 of the Criminal
o Is the regime constitutional or does it create a presumption that mentally
ill accused are inherently dangerous and puts an onus on them to show
that they are not dangerous.
o Public Safety will only be ensured by stabilizing the mental condition of
o Forensic system is to provide opportunities to receive treatment, not
Mental Health Law
Civil system governed
by the Mental Health
governed by Part XX.1
of the Criminal Code
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What happens after a person is found NCR?
Warrant of Committal to be detained at a Forensic Hospital
o Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto,
o St. Thomas near Hamilton,
o Ontario Shores in Whitby,
o Waypoint in Penetanguishene,
o Syl Apps for youth offenders,
o North Bay
o Lakehead in Thunder Bay
Hearing must be held within 45 days
Ontario Review Board
Specialized Administrative Tribunal
Composition of the ORB:
o Two legal members
o One psychiatrist and psychologist member
o Member of the public
Parties at the hearing:
o Accused (Legal Aide,
o The Person in Charge (ie. The Hospital)
Treating Psychiatrist Testifies about the accused’s mental condition, treatment
of the accused, and about risk.
Cross-examined by the Crown
Cross-examined by the Accused
Board members may ask questions: inquisitorial system.
“Significant Threat to the Public”
The Board must be satisfied that the person poses a “significant threat to the
public” or the Board must grant the accused an absolute discharge.
o SCC in
: “If the Review Board fails to positively conclude, on the
evidence, that the NCR offender poses a significant threat to the safety of
the public, it must grant an absolute discharge. Any doubt on this score
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