Stringent new rules for offenders found not criminally responsible for violent crimes
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce changes to the Criminal Code Friday that will include greater restrictions on high-risk violent offenders found not criminally responsible for their actions. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce today proposed changes to the Criminal Code that would include stringent restrictions for people found not criminally responsible for violent crimes, according to sources close to the file.
Among the changes the prime minister is expected to outline in Vancouver will be a new legal designation – “high-risk non-criminally responsible accused,” the sources told Radio-Canada, CBC’s French-language service.
Offenders given that designation would be ineligible for unescorted passes and would also have to wait three years before getting a review by mental health boards. The review boards would also have to follow stricter guidelines.
Only the courts would have the power to revoke that status.
The changes are also expected to include a bigger role for victims at every stage as soon as trials are completed.
The Conservative government has been signalling changes to the treatment of mentally ill high-risk offenders for months, in the wake of high-profile cases in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.
Both Government House Leader Peter Van Loan and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson have confirmed since the House of Commons returned from its winter break that a new bill to make these changes was coming soon.
Heritage Minister James Moore is expected to be with Harper when he makes the announcement.
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