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RSS FeedsZhebin Cong case raises questions about `not criminally responsible´
(The Star Environment)


20 july 2019 20:07:00

Zhebin Cong case raises questions about `not criminally responsible´
(The Star Environment)

Mayor John Tory called Friday for a comprehensive review that would bring together inquiries launched by Toronto police, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Canadian Border Services Agency into how a man who was being detained at CAMH managed to walk away from the facility and leave the country.Zhebin Cong fled on July 3 after being issued an unescorted day pass from CAMH, where he was being held for treatment after being found not criminally responsible for killing his roommate with a meat cleaver in 2014.In the wake of one of two police reviews examining whether there was miscommunication about the threat Cong posed to the public, the Star spoke to criminal defence lawyer Robert Karrass, an expert in mental health and criminal law, about what a finding of “not criminally responsible” means, and how risk to the public is assessed. Q: What does it mean to be not criminally responsible (NCR)?A: The question is not, “Do you have a mental illness and did you commit a crime?” The question is, “But for the mental illness, would you still have committed the crime?” And then you must have been robbed of the ability to know what you did was wrong or not understand the reasonably foreseeable consequences of your actions. Q: How often are people found NCR?A: It’s a very high threshold. It is very, very difficult to be found NCR. The vast majority of people are not found NCR — and it is even more rare when it is a serious violent offence. (In 2017, a total of 126 people were found not criminally responsible in Ontario, according to the Ministry of the Attorney General. In the same year, more than 200,000 cases were completed. There are currently about 1,500 people under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board who have been found unfit to stand trial or who have been found NCR.) Q: What happens after a person is found NCR?A: The person is sent to a secure psychiatric facility for treatment. Within 60 ...
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