Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
The other thing is, if you do a mental report on somebody, it may have information in there that is actually irrelevant to this. If it were relevant that the individual had some kind of mental problem, and that would factor into the kind of sentence or into whether this person is convicted, yes, I can understand that. It would be in the best interest of this individual to have that public.
Since this bill requires the pre-sentence mental report, I'd be more concerned that it may have all kinds of material going back to the individual's whole life.
I'd go along with Mr. Rankin on this one. If these things do become public, it could be prejudicial toward the offenders, and it would be irrelevant to whether they are going to be convicted, or what their sentence would be.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm worried that the individuals who do these reports are going to think that they have to get it all in, and that it's up to the court to decide whether something is relevant.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much for your testimony here. You've given us a whole new insight into this bill.
One of your last comments was that right now it takes about 14 to 15 hours to put together a report. Obviously this is going to increase the time available for that. How many hours do you think it will take if this bill is passed? You've already said it will go beyond the three or four weeks that you have to prepare these things.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
One of the interesting things you said as well is a lot of these individuals don't want to get treatment because of the lengthy waiting lists to get treatment. This is certainly going to compound that. I appreciate your recommendation that we tell the provinces to provide more resources and all that, but we have to accept the situation as it is now, and this is definitely going to increase it, isn't it?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
You say there is nothing compelling the health care professionals to share the information with you. I had a look at the bill, and I don't see anything in there that directly addresses that issue.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
You were somewhat supportive of this bill and the idea of it, but it seemed to me that it was contingent on the provinces and everybody else stepping up to the plate and providing more resources.
Let's just assume for the purposes of this discussion that the provinces aren't going to have huge investments or expand this area. Do you think this is going to work under the present system?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you all for your testimony here today.
This is a procedural issue. Mr. Embry, you mentioned at one point in your testimony that the mental condition of a person may not be disclosed for one reason or another—either consent isn't given, or it's not discovered. Would this be grounds for an appeal if, after an individual has been sentenced, it were discovered that in fact he or she had some sort of mental condition?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Once this is a mandatory part of the pre-sentence report, and if for whatever reason it were not included, it seems to me there would be grounds for an appeal at some point in time in the future when you discovered that the individual had some mental issues.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Jowhari, and thank you for introducing this bill. Thank you as well for your comments that you're prepared to look at amendments that might strengthen or clarify the bill. Certainly we appreciate that.
I'm pleased to see, and we're all grateful for the fact, that you're focusing on the whole area of mental health. We've come a long way in this area, even within the criminal justice system. When I was a kid, they used to tell me the last thing someone would ever want to do was plead guilty by reason of mental problems, because then you would be detained, basically, for the rest of your life. They used to say it was at the pleasure of the lieutenant-governor. So that was completely avoided, but nonetheless, we've come a long way since then.
Now, one of the issues that the present Minister of Justice has raised and set out on a number of occasions is that she wants to expedite the process, to move the justice system so that it's not clogged up and so that delays won't result in people having their charges stayed.
Pre-sentence reports are very common in our criminal justice system, and, as you pointed out, some of them contain facts about the age, the background, and the criminal records of the individuals. According to your analysis, will adding this new requirement for a pre-sentence report on mental health slow down the justice system as it is right now?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
However, this doesn't exist in all pre-sentence reports. All of them do not come with a mental analysis of these things. It's when it's called upon, or where it's obvious to the court. But this would require it in every case, every single pre-sentence report, so that certainly would increase the number of....
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
I believe there will be an increased call upon mental health professionals, experts, and doctors, and everybody else. Do you think the provinces are prepared to step up to the plate here and provide this?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Let me just be hypothetical. In the documentation we've been given, there's a listing of a number of the types of mental disorders. They include agoraphobia, anorexia, bipolar disorder, pathological gambling, panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, to name just a few.
Could you anticipate the fact that no matter what the report looks like, it may not include all aspects of mental illnesses, and this certainly would be a ground for appeal? If, in fact, the pre-sentence report was there, and it didn't include some area of mental illness because perhaps the doctors, the professionals, didn't scour every possibility, we could see that as part of the court of appeal proceedings. The individual could have had some other mental illness that wasn't taken into consideration. This would now be a requirement.
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