Prosecution Directives

Mentally ill accused face unique challenges at each stage of the criminal justice process.

Mental disorders can take many forms and encompass any illness, disorder or abnormal condition that impairs a person’s mind and its functioning. Mental disorders do not include temporary or self-induced states. The fact that a person has a mental disorder may be a relevant factor for consideration in a criminal proceeding.

In recognition of their particular circumstances, mentally ill accused may warrant special consideration within the criminal justice system, depending on the nature and circumstances of the offence and the background of the accused. The existence of a mental disorder may be relevant in determining whether an accused is eligible for diversion, determining a position on bail, whether a psychiatric assessment of the accused’s mental condition is required, whether the accused may be exempt from criminal responsibility and the dispositions available at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.

Any consideration given by Prosecutors to an accused’s mental disorder and mental condition must always be consistent with maintaining public safety and public confidence in the administration of justice. In these circumstances, Prosecutors must be guided by the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code, the governing law and any relevant legislation including the Mental Health Act.

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