What does “not criminally responsible” mean?

5. Go to the Ontario Review Board

The (ORB) will have a disposition to decide what happens to you. The members of the ORB are experts in psychiatry and the law.

If the judge makes a temporary decision, then the ORB must start your disposition hearing within 90 days. But if the judge does not make a temporary decision, then the ORB must start your disposition hearing within 45 days. If you want to, you can give your permission for the ORB to wait longer to start your hearing.

You have the right to a lawyer at your ORB hearing. If you don't have a lawyer, you can apply for a legal aid certificate to hire any lawyer you choose. If you do not have a lawyer, the ORB can appoint a lawyer for you.

Possible outcomes

The ORB makes its decision based on public safety. Other factors include:

  • the current state of your mental health
  • any progress you've made since the
  • your ability to take medication voluntarily
  • your ability to follow court orders, like your
  • your ability to follow the rules of the hospital

The ORB might ask you to have another assessment with a doctor to get more information about your mental health. They may also want the doctor to say if you are a threat to public safety. This is called a risk assessment.

There are three main outcomes at a disposition hearing:

  • You're in a psychiatric hospital. In some cases where the ORB orders you detained, they can allow you to live in your regular home outside of the hospital if you're properly supervised by hospital staff. But if this arrangement isn't working well, the police can take you back to the hospital.
  • You're conditionally discharged. This means you're free to go but you must follow certain rules such as reporting to the hospital, taking medication, and not using alcohol or illegal drugs. If you break the rules, the police can take you back to the psychiatric hospital.
  • You're absolutely discharged. This means you're free to go without any special rules.

The ORB must make the least restrictive decision. An should be the first option, then , then should be the last option.

It is rare to get an absolute discharge at your first ORB disposition hearing.

If you're conditionally discharged or detained, you have the right to a new ORB hearing once a year. In your yearly hearing, the ORB decides again whether you should be detained, conditionally discharged, or absolutely discharged.

If you don’t agree with the decision

You can appeal an ORB decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal. If you want to appeal, it's a good idea to talk to a lawyer first.

The Court of Appeal will decide if the ORB's decision was reasonable. If the court decides the ORB's decision was unreasonable, the court will either send your case back to the ORB for a new hearing, or the court will make its own new decision.

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