Neuberger & Partners LLP - NCR | Video Transcript

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LORNE HONICKMAN: Our focus is tonight, everybody has been talking about this since last week. The NCR or not criminally responsible defense due to mental illness.

Tim McLean's [phonetic] mother, as we said, is hoping to be able to join us by phone from Manitoba a little later.

But right now, I'm here with criminal defense lawyer Joe Neuberger. He also sits on the Ontario Review Board which makes decisions about NCR cases here in Ontario. Welcome Joe. And I know you've also defended many individuals charged with, charged with murder based on the not criminally responsible. So--

JOSEPH NEUBERGER: Yeah, charged with murder and other violent offenses, that's right.

LORNE HONICKMAN: And other violent offenses. All right, I think what we have to do right away is so, so we can set the plate here for the discussion because there is a perception, and I guess understandably so, that somehow being found not criminally responsible is a form of leniency as opposed to somebody who is in the system and gets sent to jail on a first degree murder, no parole eligibility, for 25 years. Why don't you clear that up right away?

JOSEPH NEUBERGER: It's not. And, and frankly our law is premised to a large extent on intent. If you have the mental intent to commit the crime. What happens with people who suffer from serious debilitating mental illness do not have the intent to commit the crime according to the actual charge that they have before them.

So in this case murder is not this individual who thought he was killing another human being, who was just on the bus with him and he just felt that day that he wanted to kill this individual. Unfortunately he suffered from a very serious mental illness in which he thought that there was a demon and that he was compelled to do this as a result of that mental illness.

So this individual is suffering and laboring under this type of defect. He does not have the intent for what would be normally first or second degree murder. This is by no means leniency. They have to go into a mental health system. These systems have security ratings, minimum, medium, maximum. And somebody who suffers from such a mental illness--

LORNE HONICKMAN: Right.

JOSEPH NEUBERGER: --may be in this system for quite a while.