Mavis Alexander v. Attorney General of Ontario, et al.

(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)


Criminal law — Mental disorder — What is the scope of the Ontario Review Board’s obligation to oversee the treatment and rehabilitation of a not criminally responsible accused — Can the Board only consider what is likely to happen in the upcoming year or are there other future considerations to take into account — Can a Board impose restrictive dispositions in the absence of countervailing public safety concerns — Can a Board impose a restrictive disposition which will restrict an accused’s liberty, delay their reintegration into the community, in the absence of identifiable risks to public safety which would make the restriction necessary?


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The applicant was charged with arson, and disregard for human life. On November 27, 2008, she was found not criminally responsible. Her treating psychiatrist testified that her mental state is very fragile, she is at high risk of decompensation and remains a significant threat to the public. The applicant appealed the disposition of the Ontario Review Board (the “Board”), ordering that she continue to be detained at the Women’s General Forensic Unit of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and providing that the person in charge may, in his or her discretion, permit the applicant hospital and grounds privileges, escorted by staff, and to enter the community, escorted by staff. The Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

August 5, 2022
Ontario Review Board

Ruling: detention order remains necessary, it was not appropriate to include indirectly supervised privileges or community living in the disposition
March 16, 2023
Court of Appeal for Ontario

2023 ONCA 176, COA-22-CR-0186
Appeal dismissed