What does “fit to stand trial” mean?

3. Understand treatment orders

If the judge decides you're unfit, the Crown will probably apply for a treatment order. A treatment order forces you to get medical treatment, even if you don't want to. In most cases, the treatment includes medication. The purpose of the treatment is to make you fit to participate in your case.

Usually, a doctor cannot treat you without your permission. A criminal case treatment order is the only situation where a doctor can treat you without asking for permission.

Treatment order hearing

If the Crown asks for a treatment order, the judge will start a to decide if you should be treated. The hearing might happen the same day the judge decides you're unfit.

You have the right to a lawyer at the hearing. Duty counsel might help you if you don't have a lawyer, or the judge will appoint a lawyer for you. You can also apply for a legal aid certificate to hire any lawyer you choose.

At the hearing, the psychiatrist will tell the judge if they think treatment will make you fit to stand . And they will say what kind of treatment would work for you. For example, the doctor might say that antipsychotic medication will make you fit.

The judge will only make a treatment order if all of these are true:

  • the proposed treatment will likely make you fit within 2 months
  • you will remain unfit without the treatment
  • the benefit of the treatment is greater than the risk of harm
  • this treatment is the least invasive to your body
  • the hospital where you will be treated agrees there is room and they are able to treat you there

Starting treatment

Usually, you'll have to go to a psychiatric hospital to start your treatment.

If there's no bed available in the hospital, you will likely stay in until there is a bed available for you. Depending on where you live in Ontario and what resources there are, you may have to wait for a long time.

Once you get a hospital bed, you'll be forced to stay in the hospital. You'll be given medical treatment even if you don't want the treatment. Treatment cannot include electrical shocks to the brain or surgery on the brain.

Your treatment can last for up to 60 days.

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