Germaine loses human rights appeal
The Yukon Review Board did not violate Veronica Germaine’s constitutional rights when they used the Whitehorse Correctional Centre as a “hospital” to detain her, a BC judge has ruled in Germaine’s appeal of the detention.
The decision is one of practicality, because the Yukon does not have facilities to deal with cases like Germaine’s, wrote Madam Justice Levine.
But she also ruled the continued detention of mentally ill persons in the centre “may be constitutionally impermissible.”
The decision should not be taken to justify the continued use of any prison as a hospital, wrote the judge. However, the board behaved justly because it properly balanced public safety against Germaine’s rights as prisoner, considering she remains a risk to society.
Germaine suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and was charged with numerous violent crimes in April 2007. She was later found not criminally responsible for her actions, entitling her to a form of incarceration tailored to mental illness.
But the Whitehorse General Hospital was not secure enough. And because Germaine refused to leave the Yukon in order to remain near her community, she was locked up in the correctional centre.
The judge cited previous cases that found automatically detaining a mentally ill prisoner was not a Charter violation, despite those decisions being pinned on the assumption that those prisoners be placed in a special criminal stream that favours treatment over punishment.
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