Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Laws tightened for those found not criminally responsible

  • Print

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled a new law to make it easier to keep people found not criminally responsible for their actions in custody, and give their victims more rights.

Harper announced the new law in Burnaby, B.C.

"We can create a system that is reasonable," Harper said. "We believe profoundly that in the past several decades the criminal justice system became unbalanced in a way that was really inexcusable."

He said the rights of offenders are not everything the system should have in mind, and particularly once found guilty "the system should not be focused on their, and only their needs."

The Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act has several features including creating a new category of high-risk offenders who can’t even be considered for release by a provincial review board until a court agrees to revoke the designation. Individuals in this category would not have a review of their status for three years, can’t be given unescorted passes to leave custody, and can only get escorted passes under very narrow circumstances.

The law also makes public safety the main consideration provincial review boards use when considering what to do with offenders deemed not criminally responsible, and ensures victims will be notified when the offender is released. Review boards can order offenders to have no contact with their victims, and victims can even ask to ensure the offender stay away from designated places.

Harper said the new law will ensure victims get more rights and Canadians are safer.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has been promising the legislation for months but has never revealed any details.

The issue of how those found not criminally responsible are handled has been prominent in recent years after several high profile, and particularly gruesome cases, including the murder of Tim McLean in Manitoba. McLean was 22 when he was killed by Vince Li on a Greyhound bus travelling between Edmonton and Winnipeg on July 30, 2008.

Li was found not criminally responsible and has been in custody at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre where he is being treated for schizophrenia. He has been allowed out on escorted day passes.

McLean’s mother, Carol DeDelley, has campaigned for reforms to laws that would prevent offenders such as Li from ever being released.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful book on the Friesens presses

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A gaggle of Canada geese goslings at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg Monday- See Project Honk Day 05- May 07, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Canada send heavy military equipment to Ukraine?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google