What does “not criminally responsible” mean?

2. Get a psychiatric assessment

Usually, the most important piece of at a not criminally responsible (NCR) is the opinion of a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a doctor who is an expert in mental health.

Finding a doctor and paying for an assessment

If you ask for the NCR hearing, you and your lawyer will choose a psychiatrist that you prefer. But if the Crown asks for the NCR hearing, the Crown will usually choose the doctor.

You pay for the doctor

If you're finding your own doctor, you usually need to pay the doctor for the assessment. Your lawyer can ask Legal Aid to pay the doctor. When you get your assessment, you can decide whether to give a copy of the report to the Crown and the judge.

If the doctor says they think you're NCR, then the Crown might want a second doctor to assess you. The second assessment is to make sure that the first doctor's opinion is accurate. If the Crown wants a second assessment, the judge can order it, and the court will pay for it.

The court pays for the doctor

If you can't afford to pay and Legal Aid won't pay either, then your lawyer can ask the judge to order the assessment. If the judge orders the assessment, then you won't have to pay. The court will pay. And the Crown and judge will automatically get a copy of the doctor's report.

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