section 672.3

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

If an accused is discharged or acquitted before the issue of their fitness to stand trial is tried, it cannot be tried.

SECTION WORDING

672.3 Where the court has postponed directing the trial of the issue of fitness of an accused pursuant to subsection 672.25(2) and the accused is discharged or acquitted before the issue is tried, it shall not be tried.

EXPLANATION

Section 672.3 of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the issue of fitness of an accused to stand trial. Fitness refers to a person's mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against them and to be able to communicate with their lawyer. When an accusation is made against an individual, the court may want to assess their fitness to stand trial before proceeding with the trial itself. This assessment is done to ensure that the accused has the necessary mental capacity to understand the charges against them and to participate in the proceedings. If the accused is found to be unfit to stand trial, the proceedings are postponed until they are able to regain their fitness. Section 672.3 deals with cases in which the court postpones the trial of the issue of fitness of an accused but the accused is discharged or acquitted before the issue is tried. In such cases, the issue of fitness cannot be tried because the original trial has not taken place. The purpose of this provision is to prevent unnecessary delays in the criminal justice system and to ensure that the accused's rights are protected. Overall, Section 672.3 helps to ensure that the criminal justice system operates fairly and efficiently by providing a clear framework for assessing an accused person's fitness to stand trial. It is an important provision that helps to safeguard the rights of accused persons while also upholding the rule of law.

COMMENTARY

Section 672.3 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that deals with the issue of trying the fitness of an accused person in criminal proceedings. This provision comes into play when the court postpones directing the trial of the issue of fitness of an accused pursuant to subsection 672.25(2) and the accused is discharged or acquitted before the issue is tried. In essence, it provides that if an accused person is discharged or acquitted before their fitness to stand trial can be determined, they cannot be tried for that issue. This provision is significant because it recognizes the importance of determining an accused person's fitness to stand trial before proceeding with the criminal proceedings. Fitness to stand trial refers to an accused person's mental or emotional state at the time of their trial. It is important to determine if the accused person is capable of understanding the nature of the charges against them, the potential consequences of the charges, and the proceedings in court. If an accused person is not fit to stand trial, then it would not be fair or just to proceed with the trial as they will not be able to defend themselves properly or understand the consequences of the proceedings. Section 672.3 of the Criminal Code of Canada recognizes that if an accused person is discharged or acquitted before their fitness to stand trial can be determined, it is not fair to hold them accountable for that issue. This provision protects the rights of the accused person and ensures that they are not unfairly burdened with the consequences of their mental or emotional state. Additionally, this provision also recognizes the importance of timely determination of fitness to stand trial. The court has the power to postpone directing the trial of the issue of fitness of an accused pursuant to subsection 672.25(2), which means that the court can delay the determination of fitness to stand trial for various reasons, such as waiting for a psychiatric evaluation or allowing time for the accused person's mental or emotional state to improve. However, if the accused person is discharged or acquitted before the issue is tried, then the provision ensures that the issue will not be tried at a later time. This ensures that the criminal proceedings are not unnecessarily prolonged and that justice is served in a timely manner. Overall, section 672.3 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that recognizes the importance of determining an accused person's fitness to stand trial before proceeding with criminal proceedings. It ensures that the accused person is not unfairly burdened with the consequences of their mental or emotional state and that justice is served in a timely manner.

STRATEGY

Section 672.3 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the legal principle that if an accused person is discharged or acquitted before the issue of their fitness to stand trial is tried, that issue can no longer be tried. This section represents an important safeguard for accused persons who may be facing challenges to their mental health or capacity to stand trial. When it comes to dealing with this section, there are a number of strategic considerations that must be taken into account. One key consideration is whether the accused person has already been found unfit to stand trial, or whether the issue of fitness is still being litigated. In cases where the accused has been found unfit, section 672.3 will not apply, as the issue of fitness will have already been tried. However, if the issue of fitness is still being litigated and the accused is subsequently discharged or acquitted, section 672.3 may come into play. In these situations, defense counsel may seek to use this section to their advantage in order to protect their client's rights. For example, defense counsel may seek to have the court postpone the fitness hearing until after the trial, in order to avoid the risk of the accused being found unfit and then subsequently discharged or acquitted. Another strategic consideration is how the issue of fitness will affect the trial itself. If the accused is found unfit to stand trial, the trial will be postponed until such time as the accused has been declared fit. This can be a significant delay, and may also impact the accused's ability to defend themselves. As such, it may be in the accused's best interests to try and resolve the issue of fitness as quickly as possible, in order to move the trial forward. Employing effective strategies when dealing with section 672.3 may involve advocating for the accused's rights and interests, negotiating with prosecutors and the court, and working to build a strong case that takes into account all relevant factors. Other strategies might include seeking expert medical or psychological evaluations to establish the accused person's fitness to stand trial, and arguing for alternative measures such as community supervision or mental health treatment rather than incarceration. Overall, navigating section 672.3 of the Criminal Code of Canada requires careful attention to the legal and practical issues involved, as well as a commitment to protecting the rights and interests of the accused person. By employing effective strategies and building a strong case, defence counsel can help their clients achieve the best possible outcome in challenging circumstances.