SCC Deems Sex Offender Registry Unfair To The Mentally Unwell

Legislation can become outdated, which is why courts review them, as well as the verdicts that they result in. Sometimes, as any lawyer from Donich Law can tell, this can lead to an overruling years after the original verdict.

An Ontario man who was found not criminally responsible (NCR) for a sexual offence back in 2002 recently received good news, as the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor of him, deeming Ontario’s sex offender registry laws as discriminatory to him and other people found NCR of these crimes.

Mr. G, who remains anonymous due to a publication ban, received an absolute discharge years after the original verdict, but was still listed down in Ontario’s sex offender registry due to what’s known as Christopher’s Law, to remain on the list for life.

In response, Mr. G forwarded his case to lawyers and the courts. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed his application in 2017, only for the Ontario Court of Appeal to later allow his appeal later in 2019, ruling that the sex offender registries were violating his rights as per the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The 7-2 decision, ruled late November 2020, means that Mr. G’s name will not be listed down on the Ontario sex offender registry, and the province will have to make amendments to Christopher’s Law to make sure it complies with the constitution.

The federal government didn’t appeal, but did support the Ontario Attorney General’s choice to overturn the decision of the SCC, noting that there is evidence, highly accepted by lawyers like Donich Law and the legal industry, that those found NCR are more likely to reoffend than those of the general population.

Toronto’s Erin Dann acted as the representative of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the country’s largest criminal law specialty association, noted that those who were deemed NCR due to mental issues were often treated more harshly than those who found guilty then later received a conditional or absolute discharge.

They state that they’re not arguing that the people who are found NCR for sexual offences shouldn’t be placed on the sex offender registry, but that they should be provided the same exit ramps that people who have been convicted and found guilty.

Justice Andromache Karaktsanis notes that, by denying the NCR these exit ramps, Christopher’s Law assumes that the NCR are unable to rehabilitate, and perpetuates negative stereotypes about the mentally troubled.

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Why People Have An Unfavorable Opinion Of Criminal Defence Lawyers

Of all practice areas, criminal lawyers are undoubtedly the focus of so much public scrutiny. Ask any criminal lawyer and he will tell you his experiences of being spat on or insulted. The fact that criminal lawyers are associated with an accused person makes people assume that the lawyers are accomplices and not guardians of the Constitution.

People have extreme dislike of lawyers. You can see it from their reactions of disgust and offensive comments when they learn that you are a criminal defence lawyer. People blame lawyers for helping a bad guy get acquitted. They search their subconscious for examples of lawyers who have helped a famous person get away with double murder.

The common perception is criminal lawyers twist the truth, exaggerate and embellish to get their clients acquitted. While there are certainly bad apples in the law profession, people’s misconception is due to ignorance. They do not understand the lawyer’s role in protecting the rights of the accused until they are charged with an offense.

The same people who have ridiculed the criminal lawyer may get arrested at some point in their life. Once they realize the situation they are in, their attitude towards criminal lawyers change. They are grateful for the presence of the criminal lawyer to provide them with legal support.

Ms. Jones called a criminal lawyer the scum of the earth for helping criminals get away with their crime. After 6 months, her son was involved in a bar fight and was charged with aggravated assault. He desperately needs legal representation otherwise; he faces 3 to 5 years in prison.

The kid was telling the truth but it took the defence lawyer 2 months to get the charges dismissed, which is not uncommon. Most cases involve multiple witnesses, contradictory statements or missing pieces of evidence that are required to assess the case.

Reputable law firm MyDefence.ca has criminal defence lawyers who can handle cases efficiently. They have the staff and resources in gathering the right evidences and witnesses to help their clients. They know how to use resources efficiently to speed up the case so that the client will save money on the lawyer’s professional fees.

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