If accepted into the Mental Health Court, the accused must enter into a treatment agreement setting out the terms and conditions of his or her participation in the Court. Failure to comply with the treatment agreement may result in termination of the Mental Health Court process and return to a trial court. As well, the accused must understand that failure to comply with his or her release conditions may result in additional charges. In the event that new charges result in the denial of judicial interim release, all matters shall be returned to the trial court absent agreement by the Crown and the Defence.
The Crown will consent to an adjournment period to enable the accused to attend any programming as recommended by his or her doctor, the Mental Health Court support team or other health professional, provided that any such adjournment takes into account the needs and concerns of any victims of the offence and proper consideration for the protection of the public.
At the end of the adjournment period, if the Crown declines to withdraw or stay the charges, there will be a sentence hearing. If there has been substantial compliance with the programming and supports regime, and no new offences have been committed, then the sentence may be crafted to address the special needs of the offender. Possible sentence options include probation or conditional sentence of imprisonment with conditions aimed at supporting the offender and preventing a new offence; however, appropriate custodial options may also be recommended.
The Mental Health Court has been operating in St. John’s since 2005. It sits every second Wednesday afternoon in Courtroom # 8 at 2:00 p.m., alternating with the Family Violence Intervention Court.