Investigation, Pre-trial and Bail
The accused, victim or witness with FASD may not understand the arrest and court process. Although the individual may be of average or above average intellect, he or she may still not be able to comprehend the severity of the situation. It is important to remember that many individuals with FASD manage to mask their confusion and are often treated beyond their ability to comprehend and act accordingly. In fact, an individual with FASD may have great difficulty understanding the consequences of making a statement or may waive rights without knowing what they are giving up. Complicated and wordy questions can be especially difficult to process and respond to by a person with FASD.
For someone with FASD, the ability to follow through with his or her promises or commitments to others may be compromised because of communication and memory deficits. A person with FASD may not understand the significance of undertakings or promises to appear.
When arresting officers, crown attorneys, defence counsel and judges are able to recognize FASD in an accused person, victim or witness, they are better able to ensure the effective administration of justice, which may include consideration of alternatives to the court process.