Parts of federal and Ontario laws requiring sex-offender registration where an accused is granted an absolute discharge after being found not criminally responsible discriminate against the mentally ill and are therefore unconstitutional, Ontario’s top court ruled Thursday.
While the court ordered information belonging to the man who brought the case to be deleted immediately from sex-offender registries, the justices also gave governments 12 months to fix the offending legislation, widely known in Ontario as Christopher’s Law.
“Persons found (not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder) stand in a dramatically different place than those convicted of a criminal offence,” the Appeal Court said. “(They) have done nothing wrong in the eyes of the criminal law, and cannot be punished by the state for what they did.”
Spokeswoman Celia Canon said the federal Justice Department was studying the ruling before deciding on next steps.
The challenge was brought by a man identified only as G, who was charged with sexually assaulting his wife while in a manic state. He was found not criminally responsible in June 2002. The Ontario Review Board granted him an absolute discharge a year later.