NEW GLASGOW, November 30, 2013 – The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice, today met with justice advocates to discuss the amendments proposed in the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act. The Act would ensure that public safety comes first in the decision-making process with respect to accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) or unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder. The proposed legislation would also enhance the safety of victims and promote greater victim involvement when they so choose.
“The safety and well-being of Nova Scotians, and all Canadians, is of paramount importance to our Government,” said Minister MacKay. “The proposed Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act would put public safety first, protect Canadians from NCR accused designated as high-risk, and enhance the rights of victims.”
The Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, which addresses concerns raised by victims of crime as well as provinces and territories, has three main components:
- Putting Public Safety First – the legislation would explicitly set out that public safety is the paramount consideration in the decision-making process relating to mentally disordered accused persons.
- Creating a High-Risk Designation – the legislation would create a new designation process to protect the public from high-risk NCR accused. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused would be held in custody and would not be released by a review board until their designation was revoked by a court. The other consequences of being designated as a high-risk NCR accused would include a possible extension by the review board of the period between reviews (up to three years), unescorted passes could not be granted to such individuals, and escorted passes could only be granted in narrow circumstances and subject to sufficient safeguards to protect public safety.
- Enhancing Victims Rights – the legislation would enhance the safety of victims by ensuring that they are specifically considered when decisions are being made about mentally disordered accused persons, ensuring they are notified when such an accused is discharged and where they intend to reside, and allowing non-communications orders between the accused and the victim.
The proposed reforms would not affect access to treatment for any mentally disordered accused person.
The Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act was reinstated on November 25, 2013, and is currently being studied in Parliament. This legislation is consistent with the commitment in the Speech from the Throne 2013 to support victims of crime and protect our communities.
- Paloma Aguilar
Office of the Minister of Justice
- Media Relations
Department of Justice
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