FASD & the Justice System

R. v. C.J.M., [2006] B.C.J. No. 1536; 2000 BCPC 199 (CanLII)

FACTS:  CJM was convicted on a single count of robbery while under the influence of tranquilizers and a mixture of cocaine and heroin.  CJM was put into foster care at birth, and suffered years of physical and sexual abuse before running away at the age of 10, and later spent much of his youth on the street. CJM had an extensive criminal record.  Upon his latest arrest, he was tested and diagnosed with partial FAS or its functional equivalent. The drinking behaviour of his natural mother was not yet known, affecting the diagnosis.

HELD: Upon learning of CJM’s FAS diagnosis, the judge concluded that his past behaviour, such as that reported by correction authorities, had to be considered in a new light. Jail would not be a deterrent to him, nor to other "like-minded" individuals. Jail had compounded CJM's problems and made it more difficult for him to succeed on the outside. But without treatment and help, and because of his disability, his past abuse and the reaction of his community to date, CJM would be a danger to the community.

CJM was sentenced to two years less a day, to be served conditionally in the community. The conditions imposed require CJM to reside in a facility that is closely supervised and monitored, and to address the issues related to his condition and the secondary disabilities that accompany FAS. They also include provisions for discovering his Aboriginal heritage and maximizing contact with the support group that is already in existence. Following this, the conditions provided for counselling with respect to sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

CanLII link: http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcpc/doc/2000/2000bcpc199/2000bcpc199.html