section 672.61(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section prohibits the court from ordering or including in any disposition the use of prohibited treatments such as psychosurgery or electro-convulsive therapy.

SECTION WORDING

672.61(1) The court shall not direct, and no disposition made under section 672.58 shall include, the performance of psychosurgery or electro-convulsive therapy or any other prohibited treatment that is prescribed.

EXPLANATION

Section 672.61(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada sets forth a prohibition on certain types of medical treatments that may be imposed on an individual who has been found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD). This section provides a clear restriction that the court must adhere to, and any disposition made under Section 672.58 must not include the use of prohibited treatments, such as psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or other treatments that are similarly prescribed. The reason for this prohibition is that these types of treatments are known to have significant medical risks and potential side effects, and they can only be undertaken with strict medical supervision. These treatments are seen as invasions of a person's bodily integrity and autonomy, and even in the context of a person who has committed a crime and been declared NCRMD, they are not to be used unless there is no other alternative. This section recognizes that the use of such treatments should be a last resort, and all other possible treatments should be explored first. The court must consider the least restrictive form of treatment before considering any of the prohibited treatments. The goal is to ensure that individuals who have mental disorders are not subjected to treatments that are invasive or harmful unless it is necessary for their medical treatment. In conclusion, Section 672.61(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a clear prohibition on certain types of medical treatments being used on individuals who have been found NCRMD. This section ensures that individuals with mental disorders are not subject to unnecessary medical risks or invasion of their bodily integrity unless it is absolutely necessary for their treatment.

COMMENTARY

Section 672.61(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada has been put in place to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of individuals who have been found not criminally responsible or unfit to stand trial. As per this section, the court is prohibited from directing any form of psychosurgery, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), or other prohibited treatment prescribed by healthcare professionals, as a part of the disposition made under Section 672.58. The section is a critical piece of legislation that aims to protect the fundamental rights of individuals who are in a vulnerable position due to mental health issues. The treatment methods mentioned in this section, such as psychosurgery and ECT, have been controversial for decades and, in some cases, have been considered inhumane or a violation of human rights. While these treatments may be effective in some cases, their risks and potential negative outcomes are significant, and they may cause harm to individuals who have already been through immense strain due to mental health issues. By excluding the provision of psychosurgery, electro-convulsive therapy, and other similar treatments, this section of the Criminal Code ensures that the rights, autonomy, dignity, and benefit of individuals are not compromised while protecting society's interests. It also lays emphasis on the provision of appropriate mental health treatment to address the underlying causes of the individual's behaviour, rather than resorting to potentially harmful and invasive medical procedures. It is notable that the section does not completely ban these treatments, but only restricts their use within the context of court-disposed cases of individuals who are not criminally responsible or unfit to stand trial. Prohibited treatment can still be prescribed for medical reasons where it is justified, and with the patient's consent, by healthcare professionals outside of the court system. The section is in line with international human rights principles that promote non-discrimination, protection of vulnerable individuals, respect for human dignity, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has highlighted that psychosurgery and ECT could fall under the definition of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment if they were administered without the free and informed consent of the individual concerned. However, there are some debates surrounding this section and the use of prohibited treatments in treating mental health issues, particularly in cases where other treatments have failed or where the individual is at risk of self-harm or harming others. Some argue that these treatments can be beneficial in some cases and that their complete exclusion is an unnecessary restriction on clinicians' medical judgment. Nevertheless, the risks associated with these treatments and the potential for abuse necessitate proper regulation, control, and informed consent. In conclusion, Section 672.61(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada reflects the balance between the protection of individual rights and the need to protect society. It serves as an essential part of the legislation that puts in place legal safeguards to ensure that individuals with mental health issues receive appropriate and effective treatment that promotes their autonomy and dignity while maintaining their rights. By promoting the use of evidence-based treatment methods and regulating the use of prohibited treatments, it helps create a system that protects vulnerable people while promoting the common good.

STRATEGY

Section 672.61(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits the use of certain types of treatments, including psychosurgery, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), or any other prohibited treatment that is prescribed. Strategies must therefore be employed when dealing with cases that require the use of such treatments. One strategy is to avoid situations where these treatments could be mandated. This involves exploring alternative treatments that could be used instead, such as pharmacological interventions or behavioral therapies. For example, instead of using ECT to treat a patient with depression, the doctor could try prescribing antidepressants or engaging the patient in talk therapy. This way, the patient's rights are upheld, while still receiving the necessary care they need. Another strategy is to gain informed consent from the patient. Informed consent requires that the patient is fully aware of the risks and benefits of the treatment and voluntarily agrees to undergo it. The doctor must ensure that the patient understands the possible side effects of the treatment, the likelihood of success, and the risks involved. They must also allow the patient to ask questions and provide enough information to make an informed decision. Obtaining informed consent helps to protect the patient's rights and provide them with the opportunity to make choices concerning their treatment. Additionally, doctors must take into account the patient's history and current condition before recommending a prohibited treatment. For example, a patient's age, mental state, and past medical history can all affect their suitability for certain treatments. Doctors must weigh the benefits of the treatment against the potential harm caused by the treatment, taking into account the patient's unique circumstances. In conclusion, when dealing with section 672.61(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is important to carefully consider the patient's needs, their medical history, and their preferences. Strategies such as gaining informed consent, exploring alternative treatments, and weighing the benefits and potential harms of a treatment can ensure that the patient's rights are respected, while still receiving the care they require.