INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
Section 672.851(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada describes the role of the court in ordering an assessment of an accused individual during an inquiry under subsection (3) or (4). This assessment is a critical part of the inquiry process as it helps to determine the mental state and capacity of the accused. Subsection (3) of the section pertains to cases where an accused has been found unfit to stand trial. In such cases, the court must conduct an inquiry to assess the mental state of the accused and determine whether they are fit to stand trial. If the court orders an inquiry under subsection (3), it must also order an assessment of the accused to determine their mental fitness. Similarly, subsection (4) pertains to cases where an accused has been found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder. In such cases, the court must conduct an inquiry to determine the appropriate disposition for the accused. If the court orders an inquiry under subsection (4), it must also order an assessment of the accused to assist in the decision-making process. In both cases, the assessment of the accused is a crucial step in determining the outcome of the inquiry. The assessment is typically done by medical professionals or psychologists who evaluate the accused's mental state, capacity, and potential risks to themselves or others. The results of the assessment are then presented to the court, which takes them into consideration when making decisions regarding the accused's legal status or treatment. Overall, Section 672.851(5) reflects the importance of mental health considerations in the criminal justice system. By requiring courts to order assessments of accused individuals in cases where their mental state is in question, this section helps to ensure that justice is served in a fair and appropriate manner.
Section 672.851(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial aspect of Canada's criminal justice system. This section outlines the legal requirement for a court to order an assessment of an accused individual in cases where an inquiry is deemed necessary. The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate the accused's mental health and determine whether they require treatment or rehabilitation before or after sentencing. The section applies in cases where the court is conducting an inquiry under subsection (3) or (4). Subsection (3) pertains to cases where an accused person has been found unfit to stand trial due to mental health reasons, while Subsection (4) relates to situations where the accused has been found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder. The court's order for an assessment is crucial to ensure that the accused is provided with the necessary mental health care. For example, if an accused individual is deemed unfit to stand trial, they may require treatment to restore their mental health to a point where they can understand their legal proceedings. Similarly, if someone is found not criminally responsible, treatment may be necessary to reduce the risk of reoffending or to assist them in their reintegration into society. Furthermore, assessments aid in the sentencing process as they provide the court with a thorough understanding of the accused's mental state at the time of the offence. This information can be used to determine whether the accused should receive a reduced sentence or specialized treatment rather than incarceration. It's important to understand that the assessments ordered by the court are not intended to be punitive in nature. They are meant to identify and address underlying mental health issues that may have contributed to the accused's involvement in a criminal act. By addressing these underlying issues, not only will the accused be given a better chance at successful rehabilitation, but public safety may also be improved by reducing their risk of reoffending. In conclusion, Section 672.851(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a necessary provision in Canada's criminal justice system. The requirement for a court to order an assessment of an accused individual in cases where an inquiry is deemed necessary ensures that mental health issues are taken into account and receive the necessary attention. This provision helps to ensure that justice is served fairly and equitably, and that the underlying issues that may have contributed to the accused's involvement in a criminal act are addressed to reduce future risk.
Section 672.851(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential aspect of criminal law in Canada as it outlines the procedure that a court must follow when conducting an inquiry under subsection (3) or (4). In such instances, the court is required to order an assessment of the accused. An assessment is essentially a forensic examination aimed at evaluating an accused's mental health or other relevant issues, to determine whether they are fit to stand trial or not criminally responsible. As such, there are some strategic considerations that defence counsel should bear in mind when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. One of the key strategic considerations when dealing with section 672.851(5) is the preparation of the accused for the assessment process. Defenders should be aware of the implications of these assessments and seek to ensure that their clients understand the importance of cooperating with the assessment process. This is especially important for accused individuals suffering from a mental health condition, as they may not fully comprehend the nature or significance of the assessments undertaken. Counselling clients about the purpose of the assessment and their role in the process is a strategic consideration to ensure that the assessment report appropriately reflects the position of the accused. Another strategic consideration is acquiring relevant and detailed information about the accused's mental health or other relevant issues. The assessment report must detail any specific mental health issues or other factors that may affect the accused's fitness to stand trial or criminal responsibility. Defence counsel strategizes by gathering past medical records, social history, family histories, and other relevant material to be included in the assessment report. Additionally, checklists, self-report instruments, family records, and interviews with family and friends or other relevant authorities may also help in developing a complete understanding of the accused's mental condition. Moreover, defence counsel should consider presenting experts who have significant experience assessing individuals in the legal system to conduct the assessment. Counsel should engage with independent qualified experts who can provide a reliable and objective assessment of the accused's condition rather than experts selected by the Crown. The expertise of the assessor could significantly impact the outcome, which could be beneficial to the defence. Lastly, defence counsel should consider the information that is put before the court following the assessment. Assessment reports should be scrutinized to confirm the completeness and validity of the conclusions while bearing in mind that the report assesses only the accused's state at the time of the assessment, which may not be the accused's state at the time of the alleged crime. Thus, it is not sufficient to accept the contents of the report uncritically. Defence counsel must consider the context of the assessment and the weight that should be accorded to such assessments in front of the court. Overall, section 672.851(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada has significant implications for an accused's defence. It is imperative for defence counsel to carefully consider the process outlined in the section, manage the assessment process, and critically consider the report generated, which may require engagement with expert evaluators and a detailed strategy to ensure the accused's suitability. Using expert evaluators and ensuring accurate and valid assessments are critical aspects of the strategy for generating the most benefits for their clients.