PORT COQUITLAM, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 22, 2012) - The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P. for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the Government's intention to introduce legislation to address concerns about high-risk accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible on account of mental disorder who may pose a threat to the safety of the public if released into communities, and victims' requests for greater involvement in this area of the justice system.

"We are listening to victims, as well as the provinces and territories, who are telling us that the safety of the public should be the paramount consideration in the decision-making process involving mentally disordered accused persons," said Minister Nicholson. "We are committed to ensuring that our laws are strong and clear enough to protect Canadians in situations where high risk accused found Not Criminally Responsible on account of mental disorder pose a risk to the public."

"Our Government is strongly committed to protecting the safety of Canadians while ensuring that victims have a greater voice in our justice system," said Minister Moore. "Consideration for the victims and the safety of the general public should be the first concern when decisions are being made about high-risk accused found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder being released into our communities. Our Government will remain committed to keeping our streets and communities safe for our children and families."

Access to treatment would not be affected by the proposed reforms.

The Canadian criminal justice system exempts persons from criminal responsibility if, at the time they committed conduct that would constitute a criminal offence, they were suffering from a mental disorder that rendered them incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of their action, or of knowing that it was wrong. Such a person is neither acquitted nor found guilty. Instead, they are found Not Criminally Responsible on account of mental disorder. They may be discharged in the community, released on conditions, or kept in custody in a mental health institution. Persons found NCR are not incarcerated in prisons.

Internet: www.canada.justice.gc.ca

(Version française disponible)

Contact Information:

Julie Di Mambro
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice