|By Marketwired .||
|January 3, 2014 11:03 AM EST||
OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/03/14 -- Department of Justice Canada
The Government is delivering on its commitment to protect Canadians from not criminally responsible (NCR) accused persons who have been found to pose a higher risk of committing violence if released. Since Bill C-14, the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, was reinstated on November 25, 2013, it was passed in the House of Commons and is currently before the Senate.
Bill C-14 would ensure that public safety comes first in the decision-making process with respect to accused persons found 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. The Bill addresses concerns raised by victims and their families as well as the provinces and territories.
The legislation would create a new designation process to protect the public from NCR accused persons who are found by the court to pose a higher risk of committing acts of violence. Families of some victims have applauded the Government's action to reduce the risk of repeat violent actions by proposing to create the high-risk designation and ensuring that victims are better informed about the status of the NCR accused. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused would be held in custody in a hospital and would not be released by a review board until the high-risk designation was revoked by a court.
-- 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. -- 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 (if the victim wishes to know); and allowing for 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 safety and well-being of all Canadians is of paramount importance to our Government. The Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act currently being studied in the Senate would put public safety first, protect Canadians from NCR accused designated as high-risk, and enhance the rights of victims. Through the creation of a new high-risk designation process, the Bill would ensure that NCR accused who meet the higher risk threshold are no longer a threat to their victims or communities across our country."
-Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"Our Government is committed to ensuring that victims have a greater voice in our justice system. This Government has said it would take action to protect Canadians. This legislation is another step in fulfilling that promise by making the safety of Canadians paramount while ensuring that mentally disordered accused persons have access to treatment."
-Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Office of the Minister of Justice
Media Relations Office
Department of Justice