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PSYCH 230 (28)
Chapter 8-9

PSYCH 230 Summaries of Chapters 8-9, 11-12

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University of Waterloo
John Rempel

Psych230 Chapter 8 mental illness in courtFitness to stand trial Unfit to stand trial refers to an inability of a defendant to conduct a defence at any stage of the proceedings on account of a mental disorder Before bill c30 someone who was declared unfit to stand trial was confined indefinitely The bill states that the person is unable to understand the nature of object of proceeding possible consequences of the proceedings or communicate with counsel limited cognitive capacity Cannot be detained more than 30 days most evaluation was approximately 3 weeks and occurred in inpatient facilities Mental health law is under provincial jurisdiction Issues of fitness is raised when a plea is entered when defendant chooses not be represented by counsel during sentencing The burden of proving is on whoever raised it 28 referred for fitness evaluations Only medical practitioner are allowed to assess not need to have background in psychiatry but psychologists can submit report of assessment to the doctor Fitness instruments study found that quick screening instrument could be used to reduce cost Fitness interview test revised FITR semistructured interview and assess 3 psychological abilities stated in the Codes fitness standard Each section contains several items Eg Understand the nature of proceedingdefendants understanding of arrest process nature and severity of current charges Each response rated on a 3point scale ranging from 0 little impairment to 2 severe impairment Final decision involves determining existence of a mental disorder determining the defendants capacity regarding each of the 3 psychological abilities and examining the previous info Decision not made based on a specific cutoff score but rather based on severity of impairment and its perceived importance Distinguishing between fit and unfit defendants Numbers of characteristics are different More impairment particularly in understand proceeding and consequences little difference in communicate with counsel Demographic variables marital status fit defendants more likely to have been married Unfit defendants more likely to be older female belonging to minority group unemployed and living alone More likely to met criteria for a psychotic disorder But not all psychotic defendants are unfit Not much difference in criminological variables How is fitness restored Goal of criminal justice system is to get the defendant fit Common treatment is medication A question is whether the defendant has the right to refuse treatment The court will take into account the individuals capacity to comprehend and appreciate the consequences of hisher actions and public safety Treatment order may be imposed by court Happens after a finding of unfitness Judge may order detain or conditionally discharged then reassessed for fitness within 45 days When fit resumes proceedings when unfit after 90 days referred to a review board for assessment and disposition continue annual assessment Crown must prove there is sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial prima facie case every two yrs For youth review the case every year May become unfit during proceeding sometimes required to stay in facility during trial If unlikely to become fit absolute discharge who do not pose significant threat to society since 2006 The power is with the court not review board But review board can recommend a stay if not then still under disposition of the review board Mental state at time of offence Criminal lunatics act of 1800 set the insanity standard McNaughton verdict sets three specific defendant must be found to be suffering from defect of reason must not know the nature and quality of the act hes performing must not know that what heshe is doing is wrong 1970s law reform commission made 44 recommendations found that mental disorder legislation was in conflict with charter of rights 1991 SSC stated that automatic detection of defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity wo any hearing to determine the level of dangerousness or the appropriate disposition was in conflict with the charter C30 made changes term changed to not criminally responsible on the account of mental disorder NCRMD from not
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