Conway: A Bittersweet Victory for Not Criminally Responsible Accused

Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



Supreme Court of Canada, Criminal Code, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Mental Disorder, Mental Health Legislation, R v Conway, Not Criminally Responsible Defence


In this comment, the attractions of Conway both for accused subject to Criminal Review Board dispositions and for others detained under provincial mental health legislation are recognized. However, owing to the reasoning in several previous cases cited in Conway and its own unsympathetic outlook, the decision is seen as having a restricted potential for accused. Moreover, it is argued that the tolerability in Conway of extremely long periods of supervision seems to diminish the likelihood of any Parliamentary or judicial reconsideration of the relevance of the principle of proportionality in mental disorder cases. On balance, it will be concluded that Conway may further discourage the utilization of the already rarely invoked not criminally responsible defence.