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By: Tim's Law  09-12-2011
Keywords: Psychiatrists, Mental Disorder

The Supreme Court of Canada has clarified under which grounds an accused can use a defense of being in a psychotic state.  Quebec resident Tommy Bouchard-Lebrun  committed a vicious assault in October  of 2005, in Mont-Joli, Quebec. Bouchard-Lebrun then claimed he was in a psychotic state after voluntarily taking drugs

Bouchard-Lebrun pushed a man down some stairs, and stomped on his head several times. Bouchard-Lebrun argued that he had an underlying mental disorder that was triggered by the drug use, and therefore should be found not criminally responsible for the attack. A Quebec court found that whatever psychosis gripped Bouchard-Lebrun during the incident, it was “self-induced intoxication” and could not be used as an excuse for his actions.

On appeal, Bouchard-Lebrun argued the “self-induced intoxication” amounted to a “mental disorder” under the Criminal Code, but the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected his argument. It said in its 2010 ruling that the defense of mental disorder was not available to an accused suffering from psychosis induced by drug use in circumstances similar to those in Bouchard-Lebrun’s case.

Now the Supreme Court has dismissed the argument, saying Bouchard-Lebrun could not establish that he was suffering from an underlying mental disorder, since he returned to normal once the effects of the drugs ran their course. The court concluded:

“A malfunctioning of the mind that results exclusively from self-induced intoxication cannot be considered a disease of the mind in the legal sense, since it is not a product of the individual’s inherent psychological makeup,”

If everyone who committed a violent offense while in a toxic psychosis was found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder, the judge said the scope of the defense would be too broad.

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. With astonishing footage shot over a ten-year period, from minutes after the crime was committed to the present, the film follows the family’s evolving relationships.  

The following is a list of Not Criminally Responsible cases from Quebec. A similar list should be compiled for other provinces. Searches for most perpetrators, except the most recent cases, returned no results.

* Presently placed under psychiatric care at the Philippe Pinel Institute.

-February 2010. 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. Experts determined that Rondeau was in a state of dissociation when he beat the nun to death while he was living at a convent on de Maisonneuve Blvd. E. The crown prosecutor said he could find no precedent where an accused has used epilepsy, successfully or otherwise, as a defence in a murder case.

*Martin Rondeau was freed after two-and-a-half years behind bars

- May 2007. Dave Narine was acquitted by reason of mental illness in death of his father. Narine told police that Jesus had given him a disease to protect his children and he was in direct communication with God. Dave Narine’s two children, a boy and a girl whose ages are between 7 and 10, had been living with their grandparents.

*Narine had a lengthy criminal record stretching back to 1993.

- September 2003. Mélanie Belanger was found not guilty after she stabbed her three-year-old daughter to death and tried to kill herself. A judge ruled Belanger was mentally unstable and severely depressed at the time.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- December 2002. Omar Antonio Molina was found to be delusional when he killed Angela Mora, 68, who had taken him in at his parents request in an attempt to free him of his obsession with black magic. The St. Michel man, who believed he was Queen Victoria and Miss Hawaii 1969 in previous lives, stabbed Mora to death when he became convinced she was a witch.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- December 2002. Philippe Gonzalez was acquitted after he killed his father Mariano at their Beaconsfield home. Psychiatric tests found Gonzalez, 28, was schizophrenic and obsessed about going to war. That night, he broke into the family’s weapons cabinet and took a rifle.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- February 2002. Rachel Capra-Craig was found not guilty by reason of insanity after she killed her severely disabled daughter in deluded belief it was the only way to save the child from being molested by her father.  Capra-Craig, 54, was originally charged with first-degree murder, but psychiatrists found her to be delusional, paranoid and depressive when she fed the girl a lethal potion of ground-up pills.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- April 2000. Ronald Larouche, 22, was found not criminally responsible because of mental problems in stabbing death of his landlord Yves Thibault in Saint-Etienne de Lauzon near Quebec City. After he killed Thibault, Larouche dragged his body into the living room, wrapped it in U.S. and Soviet flags, arranged the arms to form a cross, and placed beer bottles around it. Next to the body, a fur coat was arranged in the same way.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- February 2000. Carole Robichaud was found not responsible in the strangling of her 18-month-old son, who was found dead in his bed, next to his teddy bear and covered by his favourite blanket. The 30-year-old Laval woman, whose husband left her for another woman before their son was born, was down to her last $5 after losing her job. A judge ruled that Robichaud had lost touch with reality, and everyone she looked saw signs she should kill herself.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- December 1999. Calogero Caruso was found not criminally responsible for killing his father-in-law and wounding his mother-in-law. Psychiatrists testified that Caruso was under the delusion that his father-in-law, Rocco Recine, had placed a contract on his head, when he shot his in-laws on May 13 as he was dropping off his 20-month-old son to be babysat. In the days before, Caruso kept thinking he was being followed and would borrow his wife’s car because he was worried killers had planted a bomb under his own.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- November 1999. Jean-Robert Lymontard was found not guilty by reason of mental illness in the slaying of his girlfriend, Jasmine Matthews in his Notre Dame de Grâce apartment. Psychiatrist Louis Morissette told the court that Lymontard, 39, suffered from psychosis for several years and the illness had escalated into paranoid schizophrenia on the July night Lymontard stabbed and choked Matthews to death.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- April 1999. A man who vowed the devil made him kill his roommate at a Verdun home for psychiatric patients was found not criminally responsible. George Koussioulas stabbed a sleeping John Lipinsky 13 times last May and then immediately went to confess to his parish priest. Koussioulas told police afterward that voices kept telling him to kill Lipinsky before the roommate did the same to him. “According to him, the devil brought the voices and he, the devil, probably made him do it,’’ Justice Claire Barrette-Joncas wrote in her judgment. Koussioulas has had psychiatric problems for two decades and has been hospitalized 12 times during that period.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- November 1997. Austin Wyse has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of his maternal grandparents in Lachine the previous Christmas. The 26-year-old Wyse was sent to Philippe Pinel Institute since his arrest last Dec. 25. Psychiatrists for both the Crown and the defence, who saw Wyse in the days following the murder, testified that he is psychotic and delusional and sometimes believed that his grandparents were still alive.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- October 1997. Quebec Court Judge Paul-Marcel Bellavance found 37-year-old Serge Roy not criminally responsible for his crimes after psychiatric evaluations determined he suffers from a number of mental problems, including severe depression.

Roy’s parents, Claude and Laurette Roy, and his 7-year-old daughter, Becky, were stabbed to death in their home in Saint-Elie-d’Orford in August 1996. Roy’s 10-year-old son, Kevin, survived by fleeing his grandparents’ house through a basement window.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- March 1994. Luc Tourangeau, 28, who strangled his 4-year-old son with a towel in Chambly, has been found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. Superior Court Judge Yves Mayrand recommended that Tourangeau be detained at the Philippe Pinel psychiatric institute. Psychiatrists for both the crown and defence said Tourangeau was not of sound mind and could not distinguish right from wrong when he committed his crime.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- December 1993. Gordon Lamothe, 81, was found not guilty by reason of mental illness in strangling death of Emmanuella Corso, his wife of 60 years. A psychiatric report said Lamothe could not tell good from evil at the time. Lamothe told police he killed his wife because she begged him not to let her die after him.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- March 1993. Manuel Rivas, a 58-year-old baker, was found not criminally responsible because of mental illness after he stabbed Eduardo Pacheco, 48, in the face and throat with a kitchen knife. The two men had worked side-by-side in the kitchen of the Montreal Children’s Hospital for more than 20 years. Rivas was sent to Philippe Pinel Institute in Montreal to undergo treatment for psychotic behaviour and severe paranoia.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- January 1993. René Bilodeau was found not criminally responsible of second degree murder in slaying of his 71-year-old father. The Anjou man said he thought his father was Satan.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- September 1989. Louis Pierre-Antoine, a 54-year-old taxi driver, was acquitted by reason of insanity after he killed his wife with a tire wrench because he thought she had put a voodoo curse on him was acquitted on a murder charge by reason of insanity. Pierre-Antoine said his wife Philomène had put a curse on him which affected his virility.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- September 1988. Five years after she was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a pregnant woman in a bid to take the fetus, Jocelyne Dupras Deschambault was acquitted of the murder by reason of insanity. Deschambault, 40, had offered Suzanne Lauzon, a 24-year-old stranger who was eight months pregnant, a ride home. When Deschambault’s husband arrived home that night, he found his wife lying nude in the bathtub, claiming she had given birth to the dead infant lying on her chest. Police found Lauzon’s body hidden under the stairs of Deschambault’s spotless home. She had been stabbed 48 times and had her eight-month fetus cut from her. During her first trial, a psychiatrist hired by the Crown, testified that the murder was a result of Deschambault’s temper tantrum following the younger woman’s rejecting a proposal to buy the baby.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

- June 1984. Harold Edwardson, 33, was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he shot his three-year-old daughter to death while having “evil visions.” Edwardson’s wife, who had returned to their Noyan home after a brief separation, managed to escape with their six-year-old son.

*Name search returned no results for present status.

A man determined to have been mentally ill who was subsequently found not guilty of murdering his son is running as an independent candidate in Huntsville, Ont. David Carmichael, 52, says he knows he probably he won’t win against Conservative incumbent and Industry Minister Tony Clement, but he hopes elected MPs and voters will listen to his campaign message, which highlights the potential dangers of anti-depressants and other medications.

In July 2003, at the age of 45, I experienced my first major depression. I started taking 40mg. of the antidepressant Paxil a day. By September, I was feeling mentally healthy again. After forgetting to take Paxil for a few days in February 2004, I weaned myself off the drug. I started to feel depressed again in July.

My symptoms included insomnia, increased anxiety, rapid weight loss, low concentration and a lack of energy. I put myself back on 40mg. of Paxil a day. A few days after I started taking Paxil again, I was having suicidal thoughts. I thought I could get rid of the thoughts and recover more quickly if I increased my dosage. On July 17, I started taking 60mg. of Paxil a day. Three days later, I planned my suicide. I went from planning my suicide to planning a murder-suicide to planning a murder. On July 31, 2004, I killed my 11-year-old son Ian. I was charged with first-degree murder.

In November 2004, I was diagnosed by one of the leading forensic psychiatrists in the world as being in a “major depression” with “psychotic episodes” when I killed Ian. In May 2005, his assessment was supported by another leading forensic psychiatrist, who was hired by the crown attorney. On September 30, 2005, I was judged to be “not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder” for murdering Ian. I received an absolute discharge from the Ontario Review Board on December 4, 2009.

David’s message is a stark reminder of the complexities surrounding mental illness…. and one of the reasons why we need a discussion!

[7] An accused who is found NCR cannot be punished for his or her criminal act. Any post-verdict limitation on the liberty of the person found NCR must be justified on the basis that he or she poses an ongoing danger to the community: R. v. Owen, [2003] 1 S.C.R. 779, at para. 25. That constitutionally mandated precondition to restriction on liberty finds its statutory expression in s. 672.54(a). That section provides that if the Review Board concludes that the NCR accused does not pose “a significant threat to the safety of the public”, the Review Board must order an absolute discharge.

[8] The meaning of the phrase “significant threat to the safety of the public” has been authoritatively set down in Winko v. British Columbia (Forensic Psychiatric Institute), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 625, at paras. 49-62, 69. The phrase refers to a foreseeable and substantial risk of physical or psychological harm to members of the public that is serious and beyond the trivial or annoying. A very small risk of even grave harm will not suffice. A high risk of relatively trivial harm will also not meet the substantial harm standard. While the conduct must be criminal in nature, not all criminal conduct will suffice to establish a substantial risk. There must be a risk that the NCR accused will commit a “serious criminal offence”.

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: Mental Disorder, Psychiatrists,

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