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Psych 2990 -1 chapter.doc

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Western University
Psychology 2990A/B
Doug Hazlewood

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 pleain this case torture was used to get a plea out of them -a person could be mute by visitation of goddeaf or mute or insanein 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 pleaAND 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-30changes 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 has -Amental disorder and it interferes with the ability to conduct a de- fense 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 -3 other things in section 2 -Fitness is assumed unless unfitness is shown on the balance of prob- ability -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 metthe 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 courts -they didn’t have to be experts in anything just had to have an M.D -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 1determines 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 proceedingshow the trial is going to continue -Section 2 evaluates the persons understanding of the possible consequences -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 disordersother test are used usually DSM-IV -What happens after assessment? -Areport 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 PART 2 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 usedLegal standards for determining absence of guilty mind -in 1700’sthe wild beast standard -R V.Arnold in 1724 -jury was told that one should be totally “deprived of understanding, no more than a wild beast” -in 1736 Lord Hale if a person has a understanding less than a 14 year old than they cant have criminal intent -1800’sR V. Hadfield in 1800 -Hadfield intended to shoot King George III, charged with treas- on, pleads insanity saying that he was under a dillusion that the kings death would render the second coming of Christjury agrees and says that he is not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime -the verdict infurarated the public because it created the im- pression that people could get off on there crimes by saying that they were crazy -1800 british parliament passes the criminal lunatics act saying that anyone found not guilty by reason of insanity could be confined to a mental facility for life -adopted in Canada until 1992 -1843 case of Daniel M’Naghten -attempted to shoot British PM (killed his secretary) charged with murder pleads insanity 9 experts agree and so does jury -public infurirated by the verdict actually spent the rest of his life in an insane asylumpublic still feels like a
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