Department of Justice

Court Services

Yukon Review Board

The Yukon Review Board is an independent panel established under the Criminal Code to deal with cases concerning an accused person who is charged with a criminal offence and who is "unfit to stand trial" or is "not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder". The current Review Board is made up of seven Yukon members and three members from British Columbia. A quorum of three members must attend hearings.

An accused is unfit to stand trial if a psychiatric assessment finds that they are unable to understand what the trial is about, cannot see the possible consequences of the trial or are unable to communicate with their lawyer. If the judge finds the accused unfit to stand trial, the matter is turned over to the Review Board for an assessment and decision. The board must hold a disposition hearing within 45 to 90 days to further assess the accused's fitness to stand trial. If the board finds that the accused is fit to stand trial, the matter is returned to court for a fitness hearing.

If the Review Board decides that the accused is still unfit to stand trial, they must decide on a disposition of the matter (a decision made about the accused). The board must hold a hearing at least once every 12 months to reassess the ability of the accused to stand trial. If an accused has been found unfit to stand trial, they must be returned to court no later than two years after the verdict (one year for young offenders) to decide if there is still enough evidence to put the accused on trial. If the court is satisfied there is still enough evidence, the accused remains under the jurisdiction of the Review Board. If there is no longer enough evidence, the court will acquit the accused.

A judge may find an accused person not criminally responsible if satisfied that the accused committed the criminal offence and, because of a mental disorder, the accused was unable to understand that the offence was wrong. In such cases the court may grant the accused an absolute discharge or hand the case over to the Review Board for a disposition hearing within 45 to 90 days. The board must hold a hearing to review the status of the accused at least once every 12 months until an absolute discharge is granted.

At the hearing, the Review Board will hear evidence from the treating or assessing psychiatrist, other members of the assessment team, the accused, the lawyer for the accused and the Crown attorney. The board will then decide on a disposition. The board may decide that the accused be granted an absolute or conditional discharge or be held in custody in a designated hospital. If board does not grant an absolute discharge, the accused is entitled to a new Review Board hearing at least once every 12 months.

Victims have the right to attend Review Board hearings. Members of the public may attend and may participate in hearings with the consent of the board's chair. The board will consider requests by victims for a copy of the board's decision on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Yukon Review Board

Mailing Address:
Yukon Review Board
Court Services (J-3)
P.O. Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 2C6

Location:
Court Registry
Andrew A. Philipsen Law Centre
2134 Second Avenue (ground floor)
Whitehorse

Phone: (867) 667-3596
Toll free (In Yukon): 1-800-661-0408, local 3596
Fax: (867) 393-6212
Email: yukonreviewboard@gov.yk.ca