Prince Edward Island Criminal Code Review Board
The Prince Edward Island Review Board is an independent administrative tribunal established under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Why is this board important?
The Board makes or reviews decisions and orders (dispositions) regarding the accused where a verdict of not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder or unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder is made. The Board also has the responsibility to determine whether a person should be subject to a detention order, a conditional discharge, or be granted an absolute discharge.
The Review Board members are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. A quorum of three members, one of whom must be a psychiatrist, must attend panel hearings.
Who serves on the Review Board?
- Cyndria Wedge, Q.C., Chairperson
- Pamela Stewart, Vice-Chairperson
- Aidan Sheridan, Vice-Chairperson
- Dr. Elizabeth Schneider, Psychiatrist
- Dr. Lisa Ramshaw, Alt. Psychiatrist
- Dr. Derek Pallandi, Alt. Psychiatrist
- Dr. Megan MacDonald, Lay Member
What is unfit to stand trial?
Unfit to stand trial means that a person is unable, on account of a mental disorder, to understand what the trial is about, the possible consequences of the trial, or to communicate with his or her lawyer. If the judge finds the accused unfit to stand trial, the matter is turned over to the Review Board for an assessment and decision.
What does the Review Board do with the person who is found unfit to stand trial?
The Review Board must hold a disposition hearing within 45 to 90 days to further assess the accused's fitness to stand trial. If the Board finds that the accused is fit to stand trial, the person returns to court for a fitness hearing. However, if the Review Board decides the accused is still unfit to stand trial, the board must make an order about the matter. Following this, the Review Board must hold a hearing at least once every 12 months to reassess the ability of the accused to stand trial. If a person is found unfit to stand trial, the accused must be returned to court within 24 months of the verdict to decide if there is still enough evidence to put the accused on trial. If the court finds there is still sufficient evidence, the accused remains under the jurisdiction of the Review Board. If there is no longer enough evidence, the court will acquit the accused.
When is a person found not criminally responsible?
A judge may find an accused person not criminally responsible if satisfied that the accused committed the criminal offence and, due to a mental disorder, the accused was unable to know or understand what they were doing, or understand that the offence was wrong. Although the accused is found to have committed the act, there is no conviction. In this situation, the court may grant the accused an absolute discharge or refer the case to the Review Board for a disposition hearing within 45 to 90 days. The board must hold a hearing to review the status of the accused at least once every 12 months until an absolute discharge is granted.
Who can attend a Review Board hearing?
Review Board hearings are usually open to the public and victims have the right to attend hearings. However, the Review Board may close the hearing to the public if it is in the interests of the accused and not contrary to the public Interest.
Where are Review Board hearings held?
Generally, hearings are held at the Sir Louis Henry Davies Courthouse in Charlottetown, PEI.
How often are hearings held?
Hearings are held once per month.
Who are the usual parties to a hearing?
The accused, counsel for the Attorney General and a representative from Health PEI and from the hospital where the accused is detained or to which the accused reports. Other persons may be designated as parties by the Review Board as required.