Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies


Post verdict disposition hearings of those found "not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder" (NCR) are a new phenomenon resulting from the Mental Disorder Amendments that came into force in February, 1992. Thus far, there is no generally accepted characterization of the role of the Crown in these hearings. This paper is a proposal for the establishment of a defined role for the representative of the Crown in post-verdict hearings. It is also a plea for Crown counsel to adopt a particular frame of mind and stance in reference to the mentally disordered offender. My approach will focus on the new legislation regarding those found NCR – its purpose and its spirit. I will argue that Crown counsel must consider, and be guided by the specifics of the new legislative scheme. I will also argue, that in the administration of this legislation, Crown Attorneys must adopt a new perspective with regard to the mentally disordered offender. If the aims of the new legislation are not incorporated by Crown Counsel into their role in the administration of the law then its objectives will be compromised. I should point out that my concerns regarding the role of the Crown in disposition hearings arise after having observed a hearing before the Review Board in Nova Scotia. My observations of that hearing, and subsequent discussions with a number of Crown Attorneys in Nova Scotia, indicated to me that the goals of the Mental Disorder Amendments may be threatened by an antagonistic approach to its implementation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Law Commons