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REVIEW BOARDS - Orders - Considerations - Protection of public from dangerous persons - Dispositions - Conditional discharge - Absolute discharge - Appeals and judicial review

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 @ 8:31 AM  

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Appeal by Pellet from an Ontario Review Board (Board) conditional discharge disposition. The appellant, age 62, had a longstanding history of multiple incidents of hospitalization due to schizophrenia. She had a history of treatment, release, de-compensation, relapse and re-admission. The appellant had also had engaged in troubling behavior when psychotic, but such incidents were quite dated, the most recent incident having occurred in 2001. The index offence occurred in 2011 when the appellant assaulted a child, age five, walking with her mother. The appellant pushed the child to the ground in the belief the child had sent her telepathic messages. The appellant was found not criminally responsible and ordered detained at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In 2015, the Board granted a conditional discharge that included the privilege of community-based supervision. In the most recent hearing, the Board continued the appellant's conditional discharge with more relaxed reporting requirements. Pellet appealed on the basis she was entitled to an absolute discharge.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The Board’s decision that the appellant continued to pose a significant threat to the safety of the public was unreasonable. The Board was entitled to find the appellant was likely to discontinue her medication. However, the evidence in support of that finding did not support a conclusion the appellant was a significant threat to the safety of the public. The Board's use of the evidence of non-compliance with medication was improperly extrapolated to support its conclusion regarding public safety. Nothing in the appellant's record indicated a pre-occupation with children, or any real risk of harming another individual. The appellant met the standard for an absolute discharge.

Pellett (Re), [2017] O.J. No. 5025, Ontario Court of Appeal, J.I. Laskin, S.E. Pepall and G.T. Trotter JJ.A., September 28, 2017. Digest No. TLD-October92017004