PSY328H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Science Court, Deinstitutionalisation, Ant-Zen

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15 Mar 2017

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Civil and Criminal Commitment
Criminal Commitment
Bobby's story
Down's syndrome - IQ below 50 (Severely retarded)
25 years old, 6'4, 300 lbs -> mental age of a 5 or 6 year old
Has recently become sexually mature
Acting out his sexual urges violently against women
o At grocery store, he hugs woman's breast
o The woman felt like the victim
Recently charged with sexual assault
o Released on bail
o Next step is determine id Bobby is "fit to stand trial" (Below)
Fitness to Stand Trial
"can accused individual must be protected from a conviction that could have resulted from a lack
of participation or capacity to make proper judgement
R v. Pritchard (common law precedent used)
1. Accused must be able to assist in his or her defence
2. Does the accused understand his/her role in the proceedings
Did they understand what theyre supposed to do?
Do they know what it means to be convicted and going to jail?
Having a developmental disorder can complicate this
3. Does the accused understand the nature or object of the proceedings
Do they understand probation? Incarceration? civil commitment?
Is he able to communicate about what had occurred that day?
Communicating with the lawyer, stating facts
Do they understand what lying is?
Can they manage courtroom behaviour ( sit and be quiet)
Section 2 of the Criminal Code
o Unfit to stand trial means unable on account of mental disorder to conduct a defence at any
stage of the proceedings before a verdict is rendered or to instruct counsel to do so, and, in
particular, unable on account of mental disorder to:
Suggesting a lower standard for someone to be fit to stand trial
o Understand the nature or object of the proceedings
o Understand the possible consequences of the proceedings, or
o Communicate with counsel
An accused is presumed fit to stand trial unless the court is satisfied on a balance of probabilities
that he or she is unfit (s. 672.22)
o Everyone walks in with the presumption to stand trial
o Balance of probabilities is a lower threshold
o Burden is much less to prove unfit
The party raising the issue has the burden of proving the issue of unfitness (s. 672.23)
R v. Taylor - "limited cog capacity"
o Particularly for cases like "bobby"
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o Test
o The accused need only to have the ability to recount to his or her lawyer the facts relating to
the offence that would enable the lawyer to properly present the case. The accused need
not the ability to act in his or her own best interest
Can bobby say what happened that day?
The lawyers making a lot of decisions for the defendant
If unfit to stand trial ,there are 3 options
1. Could receive conditional discharge
Place conditions on discharge such as having someone with them when they go out, curfew,
Failure to adhere to these conditions will allow for the charge..
2. A detention order - bail is denied and you are committed to a hospital for the criminally insane
until found competent
Put the person in hospital and treat them -> often against their will
3. A treatment order - treated until fit to stand trial
Often detention order and treatment order go together
If determined you will never be competent, you must be released or civil commitment
proceedings are initiated
If bobby will never be competent to stand trial, the charges will be dropped
Fitness Interview Test
1. Nature and object of the proceedings: the arrest process, the nature and severity of the charges,
the role of key players, pleas available, consequences of pleas, court procedure
2. Understanding of the consequences: range and nature of penalties, available legel defences and
the likely outcome
3. Ability to communicate with lawyer: capacity to communicate facts, relate to lawyer, engage in
defence, challenge witness, testify and manage courtroom behaviour
Profile for Unfitness
Single, unemployed men, living alone, homeless (not a criteria but it is a common factor of mental
The reason that they are homeless is due to the fact that they don't have support from
family and friends
Generally have lower IQ
History of psychiatric problems and previous psychiatric hospitalizations
Have seen doctors and stuff as a result of their behaviour
Mostly charges with property offences and other non - violent offences
Demographic, criminological, mental disorder that involves some sort of delusional behaviour
Most people found unfit will spend more time in prison than if they were found guilty and served
the max sentence
Women with mental health are better taken care of
Borrowed term form common parlance developed into a legal concept
Not a psychological concept
The challenge for the prosecutor is to ensure the common concept of insanity does not invade the
legal concept
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