The Review Board Systems in Canada: An Overview of Results from the Mentally Disordered Accused Data Collection Study

3. Results (cont’d)

3. Results (cont’d)

3.4 Most Serious Index Offence

The most serious index offence refers to the offence which brought the accused to a Review Board during the study period. As Table 8 demonstrates, assault (levels I, II and III) comprised approximately four out of every ten cases within Review Board systems (40.7%) while the next most common offence was threats (9.4%), followed by murder (6.4%), criminal harassment (5.3%) and attempted murder (5.2%). Most accused within the Review Board system (72.6%) were charged with a violent offence, while 5.7% were charged with a sexual offence and 21.7% were charged with a non-violent offence. Compared to accused found NCRMD, UST accused were more likely to be charged with a sexual offence (10.6% versus 4.3%) and a non-violent offence (30.8% versus 19.2%) and less likely to be charged with a violent offence (58.5% versus 76.5%).

Table 8 – legal status (ncrmd/ust) by most serious offence
Most Serious Offence NCRMD N (column %) UST N (column %) TOTAL N (column %)
Homicide 487 ( 7.2%) 69 ( 3.7%) 555 ( 6.4%)
Attempted murder 441 ( 6.5%) 14 ( 0.7%) 455 ( 5.2%)
Major assault (level II, III) 1,494 (22.0%) 268 (14.3%) 1,762 (20.3%)
Assault (level I) 1,195 (20.4%) 571 (30.4%) 1,766 (20.4%)
Robbery 243 ( 3.6%) 50 ( 2.7%) 293 ( 3.4%)
Criminal harassment 430 ( 6.3%) 26 ( 1.4%) 456 ( 5.3%)
Threats 721 (10.6%) 98 ( 5.2%) 819 ( 9.4%)
Other violent offences 193 ( 2.8%) 3 ( 0.2%) 196 ( 2.3%)
Total Violent Offences 5,203 (76.5%) 1099 (58.5%) 6,302 (72.6%)
Sexual assault (level I, II, III) 250 ( 3.7%) 157 ( 8.4%) 408 ( 4.7%)
Other sexual offences 43 ( 0.6%) 42 ( 2.3%) 85 ( 1.0%)
Total Sexual Offences 293 ( 4.3%) 200 (10.6%) 493 (5.7%)
Arson 328 (4.8%) 40 (2.2%) 368 (4.2%)
Break and enter 209 (3.1%) 73 (3.9%) 282 ( 3.3%)
Theft 163 ( 2.4%) 99 (5.3%) 262 ( 3.0%)
Weapons offences 83 (1.2%) 68 (3.6%) 151 (1.7%)
Other non-violent offences 523 (7.7%) 298 (15.9%) 821 (9.5%)
Total Non-Violent Offences 1,305 (19.2%) 579 (30.8%) 1,884 (21.7%)

Percentages may not always total 100% due to rounding error. Totals may not be exact due to the rounding of the weighted data.

Of the 3,425 NCRMD accused with information on their prior record, 11.0% had never been convicted of a violent or sexual offence, including their current offence. Of the 1,477 UST accused with information on their prior record, 18.1% had never been convicted of a violent or sexual offence, including their current offence. In other words, a considerable number of accused under the control of Review Boards for current non-violent behaviour had also never been convicted of a violent or sexual offence in the past.

Figure 2 provides a comparison between all cases referred to a Review Board in the year 2003 and cases with a finding of guilt in adult criminal court in the fiscal year 2003/04. There was a significant difference between general offenders and NCRMD/UST accused. Compared to those convicted in adult court, NCRMD/UST accused are much more likely to have been charged with murder, major assault, sexual assault, assault, other sexual offences, criminal harassment, threats and arson, equally likely to have been charged with break and enter and robbery, and much less likely to have been charged with theft.

Figure 2 – Offence comparison between review board cases (2003 cohort) and adult criminal court cases (2003/04)

According to Table 9, youth were much more likely to have been charged with sexual offences compared to adults and seniors, adults were more likely to have been charged with violent offences compared to youth and seniors, and seniors were more likely to have been charged with non-violent offences compared to youth and adults. Compared to males, females were more likely to have been charged with non-violent offences and less likely to have been charged with sexual or violent offences. Aboriginal accused were more likely than non–Aboriginal accused to have been charged with sexual offences and less likely to have been charged with violent and non-violent offences.

Table 9 – offence type by demographic information

Age Category
Demographic Information Violent N (row %) Sexual N (row %) Non-Violent N (row %)
Youth (less than 18 years) 97 (51.4%) 57 (30.1%) 35 (18.4%)
Adults (18-64 years) 5,999 (73.9%) 386 (4.8%) 1,731 (21.3%)
Seniors (over 64 years) 152 (61.8%) 18 (7.2%) 77 (31.1%)

Gender
Demographic Information Violent N (row %) Sexual N (row %) Non-Violent N (row %)
Male 5,318 (73.1%) 451 (6.2%) 1,508 (20.7%)
Female 984 (70.2%) 42 (3.0%) 376 (26.8%)

Aboriginal Status
Demographic Information Violent N (row %) Sexual N (row %) Non-Violent N (row %)
Aboriginal 265 (70.4%) 43 (11.3%) 69 (18.3%)
Non-Aboriginal 6,037 (72.7%) 450 (5.4%) 1,815 (21.9%)
  • Percentages may not always total 100% due to rounding error.
  • Age was calculated based upon the accused's age at the time of the offence.
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