FASD & the Justice System

R. v. Manitowabi, 2014 ONCA 301

Appeal from youth court conviction for second-degree murder and imposition of adult sentence – 16 yo Aboriginal offender – fresh evidence of FASD diagnosis not admitted on appeal – test is whether evidence of FASD could reasonably be expected to have affected the verdict – expert indicated that FASD can affect cognitive functions, effects vary from person to person and from situation to situation, saw no basis for conclusion that the appellant’s FASD in these circumstances affected his ability to foresee the victim’s death as a likely result of the stabbing - trial judge’s reasons make it clear that he was satisfied that Crown had proven accused foresaw fatal consequences of stabbing victim. Trial judge aware of the possibility of FASD during sentencing and aware of the cognitive and emotional challenges faced by appellant – fresh evidence doesn’t shed new light on moral blameworthiness.