Resources - Tim’s Law

By: Tim's Law  09-12-2011
Keywords: Mental Health, Mental Disorder, Victim Impact Statements,

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• What Victims of Crime Should Know About Not Criminally Responsible Accused

The purpose of this pamphlet is to explain to victims of crime what happens when the Court finds the person accused of the crime to be “not criminally responsible” due to mental illness. Many people, including victims, are unsure of how the justice system handles cases involving mentally disordered accused. People often think that mentally disordered accused are acquitted which is not the case. This pamphlet explains the role of the Criminal Code Review Board in assessing the accused and making a disposition. It will also help victims understand their rights such as making victim impact statements at Review Board Hearings, obtaining information about the accused, and finding out about the status of the case.
What does a finding of ‘not criminally responsible’ mean?
A finding of ‘not criminally responsible’ means that the judge or jury has a reached a verdict that:
* the accused committed the offence;
* the accused, at the time of the offence, had a mental disorder that prevented him or her from appreciating the nature and quality of the offence; and

* the accused did not know that it was wrong.

What happens when the Court finds an accused ‘not criminally responsible’? In order to determine what happens to the accused, the Court will:

* hold a disposition hearing and issue an initial disposition order and the Review Board would then have 90 days from the time of the verdict to hold a hearing; or
* refer the case to the Review Board, established under the Criminal Code, for disposition. The Review Board must make an initial disposition within 45 days of the verdict unless the Court extends the time up to a period of 90 days.

What is the Review Board?

Objective: To describe the characteristics of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD) after the 1992 Criminal Code amendments and to track their movement through the forensic system, as well as to unveil the changes to British Columbia’s forensic psychiatric system that resulted from Bill C-30.

Method: Profile information relating to persons found NCRMD between February 4, 1992, and February 4, 1998, in British Columbia was collected and analyzed. Community follow-up data was collected and analyzed for a 24-month period following a subject’s discharge from hospital.

Results: A substantially greater number of individuals entered the forensic psychiatric system in British Columbia after Bill C-30 was implemented. The post-1992 forensic psychiatric population contained fewer persons charged with serious index offences and a greater number of persons charged with relatively minor offences. The length of hospitalization for the NCRMD cohort decreased substantially after the 1992 Criminal Code amendments.

Conclusion: The Bill C-30 provisions have made the NCRMD defence an attractive option for defendants and legal counsel.

The study made a number of interesting points including the average length of initial hospitalization for persons discharged to the community according to the most serious index offence, presented in Table 2.

Table 2  Initial hospitalization for persons discharged from hospital according to the most serious index offence

Index offence

Number of persons discharged

Mean (days)

Median (days)

Minimum (days)

Maximum (days)

Murder

4

1165.0

1081.0

747.0

1751.0

Manslaughter

2

523.0

523.0

507.0

539.0

Attempted murder

14

284.2

202.5

0.0

877.0

Sexual assault

17

591.2

428.0

0.0

2509.0

Serious assault

50

338.0

118.0

0.0

2079.0

Common assault

44

218.3

166.5

0.0

1291.0

Driving assault

7

202.4

111.0

44.0

679.0

Robbery

4

344.3

322.0

43.0

690.0

Weapons

17

130.54

39.0

0.0

660.0

Serious Property

8

237.6

106.5

0.0

1069.0

Minor Property

14

216.1

44.5

0.0

1357.0

Nuisance

36

230.2

157.0

0.0

878.0

Theft

7

47.7

0.0

0.0

298.0

The following news clip attribute statements  to The Schizophrenia Society of Canada:

While we understand and empathize with Timothy’s mother and the McLean family and support their concern for public safety, we do not believe that the proposed “Tim’s Law”, which would have individuals deemed Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) incarcerated for life, is the solution. Both Tim McLean and Mr. Li are victims of a complete psychotic episode, in which Mr. Li had no insight and awareness of his actions.

Yet this same groupstates

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada is urging the federal government to adopt a national mental health strategy that is recovery-oriented and encompasses mental health literacy, mental health promotion, early intervention, adequate treatment as well as community supports and services.

The article also attributes this statement

Vince Li was beginning treatment at a mental health facility in Ontario as an involuntary patient. But he left the hospital without anyone apparently intervening. Therefore it raises the question about whether the mental health care system responded appropriately in this case.

More taxpayer’s dollars!

Does this sound right? It would be acceptable for health professionals to intervene, prior to a crime being committed… but unacceptable to protect the public after the person has committed a heinous crime … lawyers would have a field day at the taxpayers expense!

The following is the news story in its entirety:

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SCC) extends its sympathy to both the McLean family and the Li family as they struggle to come to terms with the tragic incident around the death of Timothy McLean.

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada remains concerned about the negative or limited information that exists regarding individuals with schizophrenia and psychosis. This has been evident in the recent case of Vincent Li.

Keywords: Mental Disorder, Mental Health, Victim Impact Statements,

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09-12-2011

Resources - Tim’s Law - resources

Martin Rondeau, 33, was found not guilty by reason of a mental disorder after killing 80-year-old Estelle Lauzon, a member of the Catholic order of the Sisters of Providence, while he was having an epileptic seizure. This documentary features a son accused of murdering his sister and parents who must face the most awful decision any parent could have to make: whether to break with their son or accept him back into the family.


09-12-2011

Tim’s Law - Tim’s Law

Mr. Lowes states that by the time he was charged with the offences his interest in the Internet had already begun to wane and it had been several weeks since he had accessed or exchanged any of the pornographic material. Mr. Lowes first developed an interest in the Internet in December of 1996 at which time his home computer became connected to the Internet through a commercial Internet service provider.


09-12-2011

Uncategorized - Tim’s Law

Psychiatrist Stanley Yaren told Li’s second-degree murder trial the admitted killer has a very strong chance to recover from the major mental illness and extreme psychosis that triggered last summer’s slaying of McLean on board a Greyhound bus.