Defending Those Charged With Crimes Committed While Suffering From a Mental Disorder
The Criminal Code of Canada provides that no person is criminally responsible for an act committed or an omission made while suffering from a mental disorder that rendered the person incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it is wrong. The question of whether the person knew that the act or omission was wrong involves a consideration of whether, in the circumstances, the person knew that the act or omission was "morally wrong" according to the moral standards of society.
I am Anthony De Marco, a Toronto defence lawyer with extensive experience in pursuing Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) applications for clients. I have the experience, the research skills and the network of experts necessary to make a successful NCR defence on your behalf or on behalf of a loved one who suffers from mental health issues. A successful NCR application may mean the difference between spending as little as a year in a mental health facility or life in prison without eligibility for parole for 10 years or more.
When Are NCR Applications Used?
The NCR defence is only used in the most serious cases, such as murder. This is because a successful NCR application usually results in the accused being detained in a mental health facility for an extended period. If the NCR application is successful, the defendant is found not guilty for reason of mental disorder. A disposition hearing is then completed in order to determine whether the defendant should be detained in custody. Usually the disposition hearing results in an order directing that the defendant be detained in custody in a mental health facility subject to such conditions as the court or a special review board considers appropriate.
The order providing for the defendant to be detained in custody in a mental health facility is subject to review every 12 months. The defendant will be released from custody only if and when the court or the review board determines that it is appropriate and safe for the defendant to be released from custody.
What Makes a Successful NCR Application?
Whether or not an NCR application will be successful depends upon two major factors:
- First: Whether the defence psychiatrists and psychologists are able to establish that the defendant suffers from a mental disorder. I routinely work with highly respected mental health professionals to investigate my client's mental health history. A pattern of mental health problems makes the NCR defence much stronger.
- Second: Whether the defendant's mental disorder rendered him or her incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act committed or incapable of knowing that the act committed was morally wrong. This requires defence opinion evidence from the highly respected mental health professionals that I routinely consult on behalf of my clients.
NCR defences are very complex, requiring a lawyer who is capable of handling the most serious cases. I am that kind of lawyer. You can rely on me to present the strongest possible case that you are not criminally responsible for the act committed.
Contact a Toronto, York Region and Peel Region NCR Application Lawyer
If you are charged with a serious crime in Ontario committed while suffering from mental health issues, I encourage you to get in touch with me to discuss a possible NCR Application. To arrange a free initial consultation, please call 416-651-2299 or toll free 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my Toronto law firm online.