FASD & the Justice System

R. v. J.R.R., 2012 YKTC 103 (Cozens J.)

Application to withdraw guilty plea to sexual assault causing bodily harm – testimony of accused that felt he had no choice but to plead, lawyer ‘looked in a book and said that all the evidence said that I was guilty’, understood Agreed Statement of Facts ‘because it’s on a piece of paper’ – mother testifying that she drank during pregnancy and accused has struggled with cognitive issues, no formal FASD diagnosis – plea was voluntary and unequivocal, but not informed – doubt about whether accused adequately understood and processed the information given to him – is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to giving advice and taking meaningful instruction, and more time/explanation required for accused.