Edward Prutschi discusses the nationally sensational case of Richard Kachkar who was found “not criminally responsible” (NCR) by reason of mental disorder for the death of Toronto police sergeant Ryan Russell. Three forensic psychiatrists, including one retained by the Crown, had examined Mr. Kachkar and unanimously found him to have a serious case of mental disorder. Mr. Prutschi discusses the importance of these three expert testimonies, and the immense influence they had in swaying the jury’s verdict. While many wanted vindication for this senseless tragedy, the NCR ruling was an expected one in the legal community.
While special attention was paid to this case, Mr. Prutschi briefly discusses how the mentally disabled were dealt with after being found NCR, and how there are special post-trial procedures to deal with the mentally disabled. The Ontario Review Board has to wrestle with questions like does the person remain a substantial risk to society and how they have to manage that risk, and deliberate on a best course of action. Mr. Prutschi also talks about the increased cooperation between the legal and mental health systems, especially in recent years, and their increased information exchanges in areas of risk assessment.