Effective date: 23 November 2023
Purpose & Background
The purpose of this Notice is to describe the process for referral of an adult accused person appearing in custody from the Prince George courthouse sheriff cells or a remand centre into the Northern Virtual Bail Courtroom VR1 to a Forensic Liaison1 and, if requested by the Forensic Liaison, a Forensic Psychiatrist2.
Forensic Psychiatric Services (FPS) has had a long-standing Forensic Liaison presence at the Vancouver Provincial Court (222 Main Street) and Downtown Community Court. The Forensic Liaison facilitates access to timely services for the accused, particularly those in-custody. There is a desire to expand this program outside Vancouver. Due to the combined sheriff and police shortages in the Northern Region, at this time, it is only possible to undertake the pilot to involve adult accused persons appearing from Prince George courthouse sheriff cells or a remand centre in the Northern Virtual Bail Courtroom VR1, with the following goals:
- Reducing the number of accused persons being held in custody pending a formal fitness assessment by FPS;
- Making available timely care and treatment and bridging services to the community for the accused;
- Providing the Court with information regarding the availability ofspecific bail conditions, which may reduce the risk to re-offend and support access to treatment; and
- Reducing community displacement.
The Court, in conjunction with FPS, will assess whether this pilotis beneficial and sustainable, and whether it can be expanded to other Virtual Bail Courts.
Download NP 33
A Forensic Liaison (Nurse/Social Worker) will provide mental status exams, gather collateral information regarding prior treatment, treatment needs and options, and potential community resources to support the accused should they be released.
A Forensic Psychiatrist will be available as requested by the Forensic Liaison to provide a further opinion on complex referrals, interview the accused should there be a question regarding fitness, and offer an expert opinion on certification and/or fitness.