Pathways actively monitors trials and inquests involving those with mental illness on the North Shore, provides information and support to family members in such proceedings, and provides information and perspective about serious mental illness to both defence and crown counsel as called for by the situation.

In instances where an ill person is charged with a crime, we can help family members understand how such cases are usually dealt with. We can provide basic information on the possible finding of “not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder” (NCRMD) and how any subsequent assignment to the Forensic Hospital works, with – if all turns out well – eventual release once the ill person has been treated and stabilized.

Family members dealing with a loved one’s legal troubles may also wish to attend the Family Support Group, where they can discuss their situation with others, some of whom may also have had an ill relative in the criminal justice system.

The Pathways, sometimes in direct discussion subsequent to a first appearance, also tries to ensure that both defence counsel and crown prosecutor understand the nature of serious mental illness and the role it may have played in the alleged offence, and, if the case goes to trial, that they consider a finding of NCRMD accordingly.

This support is provided to family members even if their ill relative is charged and is being tried elsewhere than on the North Shore.

Please note: Pathways does not provide legal advice or representation.

Useful resource
Mental Disorders and the Criminal Justice System
Fact Sheet on how police and the court system deal with offenders who have a mental illness. Includes contact information for legal services and other resources.