Psychology 2990A/B Chapter Notes -Mental Disorder, Mens Rea, Robert Pickton

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Part 1: Fitness to Stand Trial
What does “fit” mean
-in order to have a fair trial people should be able to defend themselves
against accuser
-If a person is unfit they should not be tried
How do you determine if a person is fit or unfit?
before 1836 a person had to be able to enter a plea
-reasons for not entering a plea
-a person could choose not to enter a pleain this case torture
was used to get a plea out of them
-a person could be mute by visitation of goddeaf or mute or
insanein this case the person was not tried for a crime
-In 1836 R v. Pritchard was charged with beasteality, he was a deaf mute (visit-
ation of god) so the court decided he could not be tried for the crime
-Court tried to established clearer legal standards
able to enter a plea AND
must have sufficient intellect to understand proceedings
-Canada would use these standards for the next 156 years
-In 1992 canadian gov’t inacted bill C-30changes section 2 of the criminal
code and provides new fitness standards
-States that a person is unfit to stand trial if it can be shown that a person
-A mental disorder and it interferes with the ability to conduct a de-
provides three criteria for unfit
-understand nature and object of proceedings
-understand possible consequenses
-communicate with counsel
cant do these things because of a mental disorder
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-3 other things in section 2
-Fitness is assumed unless unfitness is shown on the balance of prob-
-Balance of probability means that it is more probable than im-
probable or 51% probability (this is lower than beyond a reasonable doubt)
-party raising the issue has the burden of proof of proving unfitness
-the court determines if the burden of proof is met on the balance of
probability is metthe judge makes the decision
This is the current legal standard
-Assessing fitness to stand trial
-who can make a fitness assessment?
-Before 2005 only medical doctors could provide assessments to
-they didn’t have to be experts in anything just had to have an
-in 2005, section 2 was changed to include other qualified pros in-
cluding psychologists
-Psychologists had always played an important role
-they developed tests to assess fitness to stand trial but they couldn’t
administer the test, they can now administer the test
-How is fitness assessed?
-a mental disorder must be shown and the 3 criteria must be shown
-Fitness interview test- revised (FIT-R)is used to determine
-FIT-R has three basic sections
-Section 1determines if the person understands the nature and
object of proceedings
-includes arrest process and specific charges
-if they understand the role of the key players in the
courtroom including judge, jury, and lawyers
-court proceedingshow the trial is going to continue
-Section 2 evaluates the persons understanding of the possible
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-Section 3 evaluates the ability to communicate with counsel
-can the accused communicate facts of the case to lawyers
can they give there whereabouts and what not
-can they help assist in planning defense strategy
-can the person testify if needed
-can they manage courtroom behaviour
FIT-R does not asses mental disordersother test are used usually DSM-IV
-What happens after assessment?
-A report is submitted to court
-court makes its own judgements bases on balance of probability
-if accused is found fit then it goes to trial just as it would normally
-accused can be detained in custody if there is reason to believe
that he or she may become unfit to stand trial
-if accused is found to be unfit to stand trial than the proceedings are
temporally stopped and the goal is to restore fitness using treatment
-in Canada this was done with medication pre 2005 to control
mental disorder
-since 2005 psychological treatment are more common to
achieve criteria of fitness
Mental state at the time of offence
R V. Hadfield quote 1800
What does guilty mean?
-two elements must be present
-Wrongful deed “Actus Reus”
-Criminal intent “Mens Rea
-Guilty mind
-this is important when insanity is used
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