FASD & the Justice System

R. v. Passmore, 2014 SKPC 38 (Toth J.)

Guilty plea by 22 yo Aboriginal offender to assault PO, theft of pies, mischief, threatening a nurse – FAE and other diagnoses – previously housed in supervised home because of developmental disabilities – moved in with mother when 18 but not viable because of suicide attempts by both – unable to prepare simple meals, due to lack of fine motor skills, cannot use kitchen appliances, cannot shop for himself or prepare food – unable to problem solve – loses money, gives it away or is taken advantage of – unable to recognize dangerous situations in the community - needs structure, supervised residence with staff familiar with working with complex and high needs individuals – fit but significant mental health problems –diminish degree of responsibility of offender – systemic failures to recognize and treat an offender’s mental health condition are mitigating – denunciation and deterrence should be given little if any weight – incarceration with disproportionate impact on persons suffering from mental illness – still need to balance interests of public with mitigating effect of diminished responsibility – system not designed, equipped or intended to be a default catchment basin for people with disabilities like the offender – does not accept no suitable placement and support; to do nothing is to impose a greater sentence than the court could – short sentence (additional 30 days) plus probation.