VICTORIA - Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond has released the following statement on the Canadian government's Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act:
"We were pleased today when we heard Prime Minister Stephen Harper's significant announcement about new measures being taken to ensure that public safety is the paramount consideration in all hearings where someone has been found to be not criminally responsible.
"We thank the federal government for its commitment to address the significant concerns of victims and families who have been clear that they want to be given ample notification when review board decisions are made, and that their needs are considered.
"British Columbia has steadfastly shared those views, beginning when the previous attorney general started discussions with the federal government. As attorney general, I have continued those discussions with the federal minister as recently as this past fall.
"Safeguarding families to minimize the re-victimization that occurs with mandatory annual review board hearings has been a very important priority of mine and I'm proud to say that B.C. has been instrumental in calling for these changes.
"We will be reviewing the changes in details and, in the meantime, look forward to an expeditious debate and implementation of these new laws that will serve the interests of British Columbians.
"As the Prime Minister said, we need to ensure that not-criminally-responsible accused people who are too dangerous to be released cannot pose a further threat to their victims, or to our communities."
Ministry of Justice