Lecture 8: Fitness to Stand trial and Criminal Responsibility Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Lecture 8: Fitness to Stand trial and Criminal Responsibility Deck (31):

Who are the gate keepers when someone with a mental illness commits a crime?

The police, they choose whether they send them to psychiatric emerg or court.


What is Fitness to stand trial?

Involves an assessment of the current (at the time of the trial) mental condition of the accused. Mental illness is considered to be a necessary component but it is not sufficient. Does it interfere with their ability to perform legal tasks?


What is unfit to stand trial?

refers to an inability to conduct a defence at any stage of the proceedings on account of a persons mental disorder


Questions asked when defining fitness?

Is the accused able to assist in his or her defence? (can they communicate)
Does the accused understand his or her role in in the proceedings?
Does the accused understand the nature of proceedings


What happens after someone is determine fit or unfit?

If fit, the trial will continue, if unfit assessment will take place. Can take between 5 and 30 days for assessment orders. Assessment will typically be conducted by a psychiatrist


What is the FIT-R

The fitness interview test revised. It is a semi structured interview that assesses the 3 psychological abilities stated in the code's fitness standard: Understand the nature of proceedings, understand the consequences, and communicate with counsel. Includes a 3 point rating scale ranging from 0-2. Once the interview is complete the evaluator must make a subjective decision regarding the overall fitness of that person. Decisions are not made based on a specific cut off score.


What MacCat-CA?

It is used to try to eliminate some of the subjectivity in the FIT-R, it is a structured interview containing 22 items that assess competencies in 3 areas: Understanding of legal system, Understanding of own legal situation, Reasoning ability. These areas are assessed via hypothetical scenarios following these they are asked questions they are assigned a score of 0,1,2 based on scoring criteria. Designed to supplement not replace the clinical interview


When defendants are found unfit what is the goal of the criminal justice system?

to get the defendant fit with as little delay as possible, If individual remains unfit they are either detained in a hospital or conditionally discharged


What is the most common form of treatment for fitness?



What is section 2 of the criminal code?

Unable, on account of having a mental disorder, to understand the nature of the proceedings, understand the consequences of the proceedings, or communicate with counsel


How long is a person detained in a hospital before they are reassessed?

Within 45 days. In the event that the defendant is fit, he/she returns to court and proceedings resume. If the defendant remains unfit after 90 days he/she is referred to a review board. For adults the case is reviewed every 2 years and for youth it is reviewed annually.


What is Prima facie case?

When being reviewed it is a Case in which the crown prosecutor must prove there is sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial, if the court determines that sufficient evidence is no longer available to prosecute the case, it is dropped and the defendant is found no longer guilty.


What is insanity defined as?

it is a legal concept not medical/psychological and is an impairment of mental or emotional functioning that affects perceptions, beliefs and motivations at the time of the crime (retrospective)


What is the McNaughton standard? (cognitive)

Daniel M. tried to assassinate the president, but was found not criminally responsible because he was suffering from Schizophrenia. 3 things emerged:
Must suffer from a defect of reason (mental disorder) and must not know the nature of the act or must not understand that it was wrong


What were the changes made to bill C-30 in 1992?

the term not guilty by reason of insanity was changed to not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD). Not legally responsible while suffering from a disorder that rendered the person incapable of appreciating the nature of the act or incapable of knowing that the act was wrong. Review boards were created.


What are review boards?

legal bodies mandated to oversee the care and disposition of defendants found unfit and/or not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder.


What is the irresistible impulse test?

(volitional) The accused could have the cognitive knowledge of what is right and wrong
But still not be responsible if their illness results in an inability to control their behaviour


What is the ALI standard?

(cognitive/volitional) Not responsible if the accused lacks the capacity to appreciate the criminality of the act or to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law


What is the guilt but mentally ill standard?

Mentally ill but also guilty of the crime,Treatment until they are declared sane , Prison for same term as other offenders


Assessment of responsibility?

Only the defense can raise the issue, unless the verdict of guilty has been handed down
However, the prosecution can deal with the issue once the defence raises it
Responsibility is assessed using an assessment instrument
Can take between 30-60 days for assessment orders


What is the rogers criminal responsibility assessment scales?

The RCRAS is the only instrument of its kind and it has 5 scales:
-Patient reliability
-cognitive control
-behavioural control.
The R-CRAS was designed to standardize evaluations and ensure particular areas are evaluated rather than produce a cut off score to indicate criminal responsibility, the clinician takes all this information into account and uses it as the basis for a decision


What is the MSE?

Identifies non-insanity Covers 3 topics
-General psychological history
-Mental state at the time of offence
-Current mental status


3 Dispositions can be made following a finding of NCRMD, what are they?

If the defenedant poses as a low threat to society or low risk for reoffending the review board can order Absolute discharge, they can be ordered conditional discharge or they can be ordered to be sent to a psychiatric hospital.


What is absolute discharge?

the defendant is released into the community without restrictions on his/her behaviour


what is conditional discharge

a defendant is released; however release carries certain conditions (e.g., not to possess firearms) that the defendant must meet. failure to meet the conditions may result in the defendant being incarcerated or sent to a psychiatric facility


Does a defendant who is sent to a facility have to comply with treatment?

no, only when they are no longer competent to make treatment decisions steps may be taken to force treatment on the defendant


What is capping?

notion introduced through bill C-30 where there is a max period of time a person with a mental illness could be affected by his/her disposition. Once the cap is reached the defendant may be released without restrictions however if the defendant is still perceived to be dangerous he/she could be involuntarily committed to a secure hospital


What 4 main criteria are considered by the court and review board when deciding on a disposition?

Public safety
mental state of the defendant
reintegration of the defendant into society
other needs of the defendant


Who can assess fitness?

Traditionally only medical practitioners have been allowed to conduct court ordered assessments, unlike Australia and USA Canada continues to take this position


What is Mes rea?

Criminal intent


What is actus reus?

A wrongful deed