FASD & the Justice System

R. v. Laquette, 2015 MBQB 79 (Suche J.)

Sentencing of 26 yo Aboriginal offender with FASD and schizophrenia for aggravated assault – significant deficits, including difficulty with social cues, severe impulsivity, lack of cause and effect rationality, susceptible to abuse, impulsive, easily overhwhelmed – group assault and other participants entered early guilty pleas – offender was primary participant not really determinative, group used offender as their weapon – mental disability is prima facie a significant mitigating factor, not a free actor and moral blameworthiness reduced – where disability creates a risk to the safety others it can be aggravating and may require separation from society – notions of punishment and specific and general deterrence have little role when involvement directly related to mental illness or disability – offender has managed well in custody and biggest factor in risk of re-involvement in offending is company he keeps – penitentiary sentence would return him to minimal restrictions after release, no programming that would address this available in penitentiary – diminished moral culpability is dominant consideration – rehabilitation and public safety concerns property served with maximum (3 year) period of probation including restriction on where he goes and what he does – 18 mos credit for time served, no additional period of incarceration.