Mental Illness

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An accused's mental health condition may be relevant to a proceedings in several ways. An accused who is "unable on account of mental disorder to conduct a defence" or is unable "to instruct counsel" may be unfit to stand trial.[1] An accused who was at the time of the offence "incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it was wrong" may be subject to a finding of "Not Criminally Responsible".

Finally, certain jurisdictions have a specialized mental health court system that diverts certain cases that involve offences that sufficiently relate to a mental illness and are amendable to some form of treatment and supervision.

Provincial Assessments
Certain provinces have legislation that permits court ordered assessments of the accused where he has reason to believe he has a mental disorder.[2]

  1. see PART XX.1
  2. e.g. s. 21 of the Mental Health Act, RSO 1990, c M.7, s 21


Misc Definitions Relating to Mental Disorders

PART XX.1Mental Disorder
672.1 (1) In this Part,
"accused" includes a defendant in summary conviction proceedings and an accused in respect of whom a verdict of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder has been rendered; (accusé)
"assessment" means an assessment by a medical practitioner or any other person who has been designated by the Attorney General as being qualified to conduct an assessment of the mental condition of the accused under an assessment order made under section 672.11 or 672.121, and any incidental observation or examination of the accused; (évaluation)
"chairperson" includes any alternate that the chairperson of a Review Board may designate to act on the chairperson’s behalf; (président)
"court" includes a summary conviction court as defined in section 785, a judge, a justice and a judge of the court of appeal as defined in section 673; (tribunal)
"disposition" means an order made by a court or Review Board under section 672.54, an order made by a court under section 672.58 or a finding made by a court under subsection 672.64(1); (décision)
"dual status offender" means an offender who is subject to a sentence of imprisonment in respect of one offence and a custodial disposition under paragraph 672.54(c) in respect of another offence; (contrevenant à double statut)
"high-risk accused" means an accused who is found to be a high-risk accused by a court under subsection 672.64(1); (accusé à haut risque)
"hospital" means a place in a province that is designated by the Minister of Health for the province for the custody, treatment or assessment of an accused in respect of whom an assessment order, a disposition or a placement decision is made; (hôpital)
"medical practitioner" means a person who is entitled to practise medicine by the laws of a province; (médecin)
"party", in relation to proceedings of a court or Review Board to make or review a disposition, means

(a) the accused,
(b) the person in charge of the hospital where the accused is detained or is to attend pursuant to an assessment order or a disposition,
(c) an Attorney General designated by the court or Review Board under subsection 672.5(3),
(d) any interested person designated by the court or Review Board under subsection 672.5(4), or
(e) where the disposition is to be made by a court, the prosecutor of the charge against the accused; (parties)

placement decision means a decision by a Review Board under subsection 672.68(2) as to the place of custody of a dual status offender; (ordonnance de placement)
prescribed means prescribed by regulations made by the Governor in Council under section 672.95; (Version anglaise seulement)
"Review Board" means the Review Board established or designated for a province pursuant to subsection 672.38(1); (commission d’examen)
"verdict of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder" means a verdict that the accused committed the act or made the omission that formed the basis of the offence with which the accused is charged but is not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder. (verdict de non-responsabilité criminelle pour cause de troubles mentaux)
(2) For the purposes of subsections 672.5(3) and (5), paragraph 672.86(1)(b) and subsections 672.86(2) and (2.1), 672.88(2) and 672.89(2), in respect of a territory or proceedings commenced at the instance of the Government of Canada and conducted by or on behalf of that Government, a reference to the Attorney General of a province shall be read as a reference to the Attorney General of Canada.
1991, c. 43, s. 4; 2005, c. 22, s. 1; 2014, c. 6, s. 2.