Review Board for mental disorder

The Hearing

At the hearing, the Review Board is required to determine whether the accused represents a significant threat to the safety of the public. Depending on the case, it must also establish the measures which must be taken in order to control this threat and to allow for the accused’s reintegration into society.

 

In order to do this, the Review Board must obtain and analyze the evidence as to the accused’s mental condition (for example, his level of functioning, his autonomy, etc.), in order to establish the conditions which should or should not be imposed on the accused in order to ensure the protection of the public, while at the same time promoting his reintegration into society.

The Review Board will send a document entitled “Notice of Hearing" to the accused, the hospital and all other parties to inform them of the date and place of hearing.


If the accused is between the age of 12 and 17, his parents will receive this notice, and one of them must be present at the hearing.


The hearings of the Review Board usually take place in the place where the accused is detained or being followed, therefore, usually a hospital.


If the accused or any other party has serious reasons for not being able to be present on the date fixed for the hearing, he must request a change of date from the Review Board in writing, as soon as possible before the hearing. That is what is called a "request for a postponement”. The Review Board will decide whether or not to accept this request.

The hearing takes place in an informal manner. Three administrative judges are present, of which one must be a lawyer and one a psychiatrist.


The administrative judge who presides opens the hearing and indicates the manner in which it will proceed.


The evidence is presented to the Review Board, including the most recent psychiatric report with respect to the accused. The accused may testify, and he or his counsel may ask questions of the members of the health care team present at the hearing.


The Review Board will listen to the arguments of the accused, those of hospital and those of any other party.

The hearings of the Review Board are generally open to the public.


Only the following individuals (also called "parties') may submit evidence during the hearing:

  • The accused
  • The person in charge of the hospital, or a member of the health care team
  • The attorney general, upon application
  • Any other person authorized by the Review Board to be a party when it is in the best interests of the accused

 

Each party has the right:

  • to receive a notice of hearing;
  • to be present at the hearing; and
  • to examine and cross-examine witnesses at the hearing;
  • to present arguments;
  • to receive a copy of the decision and to contest it;
  • to be represented by a lawyer.

All persons present at the hearing must be dressed appropriately and exhibit dignified and respectful conduct.


The Review Board may ask any person who interferes with the smooth functioning of the hearing to leave the room. It can even ask the accused to do so.

All parties to the hearing may be represented by a lawyer.


An accused declared unfit to stand trial must necessarily be represented by a lawyer at the hearing. If he does not have one, the Review Board will appoint one.


In the case of an accused found not criminally responsible, the Review Board may decide to appoint a lawyer if it in its opinion it is in the interests of justice that he be represented.


In some cases, the accused may be eligible for legal aid.

Recording of hearings –All hearings of the Review Board are recorded. A party may usually receive, on request, a copy of the recording from the Secretariat of the Tribunal. There is a charge for obtaining this copy.

 

Language - Hearings may be held in English or French. An accused or a witness who does not understand or does not speak the language used at the hearing has the right to be assisted by an interpreter.

 

Note that the services of an interpreter are provided by the Tribunal if the person requesting them is the accused or is hearing-impaired. In other cases, the services will be at the expense of the person requesting them.



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