Arguments Against Not Criminally Responsible and Guilty Plea

Arguments Against Not Criminally Responsible and Guilty Plea

Hello, my name is Arjuna D. Ghose (it is my pen name). I am essentially a former monk now living amongst ordinary everyday society writing a multi-volume spiritual memoir about how I have been seriously misunderstood due to my karma from smearing my spiritual Master. Not to worry, though. It is all in God’s Hands. Despite it being my bad karma, all my dreams are being fulfilled. In this article, I want to discuss my argument against a Not Criminally Responsible decision.

You see, after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, I got in trouble with the law one day by driving after taking some sleeping pills.

I Don’t Like Dealing With Psychiatrists

But no psychiatrist I’ve dealt with has as much of a thorough understanding of my mental and spiritual health as I do. It’s insulting for them to masquerade around as if they are knowledgeable when they are not, dismissing me as having no insight. They make assumptions about what is superficially plausible without having any insight or knowledge about where I’m coming from. They don’t know what it’s like to be a disciple of Sri Chinmoy’s. They don’t care or accept that it’s common for a disciple to receive inner guidance from him.

I Don’t Want to Be Found Not Criminally Responsible

So, dealing with psychiatrists who think they have it all figured out and are therefore helping me with schizophrenia has been a kind of psychological torture for me. I do not want to continue dealing with psychiatrists who misconstrue my beliefs and make mountains of molehills when it comes to my mental health. That is why I did not want to be found NCR (Not Criminally Responsible) for the 2017 incident where I drove my vehicle after taking a few sleeping pills and ran into a pole. (Luckily no one was injured.)

If I was found NCR, I would have to continue dealing with psychiatrists indefinitely treating me for an illness I do not have. There would be no way to prove that I really do receive inner guidance from my Guru. They would go on believing that their science — which is not based on any kind of tests or scans — is advanced and accurate, tormenting me with their false beliefs. Worse yet, I would not be able to pursue unsupervised visits with my daughter through the Family Court.

Would The Mental Health Court Program Help Me Avoid A Criminal Record?

I initially tried to go through the Mental Health Court Program here in Halifax. I had learned about Mental Health Court programs by reading a book my Inner Guide (my Guru) advised me to read about 9 months prior to my accident. That book is called Mental Health Courts – Decriminalizing the Mentally Ill by Richard D. Schneider, Hy Bloom, and Mark Heerema. It was only after reading that book, which I was just finishing around the time of the accident, that I realized without any legal advice that I could take advantage of my schizophrenia diagnosis and avoid a criminal conviction by going through the Mental Health Court Program. I wasn’t even aware of the existence of Mental Health Courts prior to that.

But my attempt to go through that program was cut short when a forensic psychiatrist I call Dr. Potlick decided I was not criminally responsible at the time of the incident. Here in Halifax, you can’t go through the Mental Health Court Program if you are found not criminally responsible. Instead, you are placed under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Code Review Board. Dr. Potlick issued a report consisting of several pages outlining his position against me. However, that did not make me officially NCR unless I agreed with his decision.

As you may have guessed, I did not.

My Arguments Against Not Criminally Responsible

My intention was to argue before the regular criminal court judge that I never had schizophrenia. If I didn’t have schizophrenia at the time of the offence, then I could not be found not criminally responsible. I explained that to my lawyer. He replied it would be easier to show that while I may (or may not) have schizophrenia, that mental disorder was not responsible for the accident. Therefore, I shouldn’t be found not criminally responsible. That would mean I wouldn’t even argue that I don’t have schizophrenia.

Unfortunately, he had a point. In order to argue against a not criminally responsible decision, I would need the opinion of another psychiatrist. Yes, the ones who don’t ever get a thorough understanding or do any tests or scans. Since psychiatrists form their conclusions from a superficial evaluation and hardly know or believe anything about spiritual communication, I would likely never find a psychiatrist convinced I don’t have schizophrenia. So, if I can’t find a psychiatrist who believes I don’t have schizophrenia, how could I ever argue in court against a not criminally responsible decision by claiming I don’t have schizophrenia?

I Wanted to Remove the Schizophrenia Label

You see, the reason I wanted to argue that I don’t have schizophrenia in this trial was to officially remove the schizophrenia label against me. I hoped this NCR trial would give me the opportunity to do that. Removing this label would immediately allow me to fight for better access and unsupervised visits with my daughter. It would also give me an opportunity to file a lawsuit or two.

My trial date was set for Jan. 24, 2020. It would have consisted of evidence (both direct and cross-examination of Dr. Potlick and direct and cross-examination of any defense expert), plus arguments from both the Crown Prosecutor and my defense lawyer.

I Was Indeed Criminally Responsible

In the months leading up to that date, my lawyer gave some info about me — Dr. Potlick’s NCR report and some info from my health record — to another forensic psychiatrist I’ll call Dr. Jonathon. Dr. Jonathon was somehow able to conclude simply by scanning over those few documents that, while I do indeed have schizophrenia, I was indeed criminally responsible at the time of the incident.

Considering I didn’t have to meet with him for him to form this conclusion, psychiatrists don’t need to employ insight to understand where you’re coming from. They can, however, conclude that you don’t have any insight, thereby dismissing almost everything you say as delusional.

As I said in this article about how psychiatrists diagnose, Dr. Nelson — the psychiatrist I met with for 4.5 years solely in attempt to get a letter for the Family Court so that I could help my daughter — had already concluded prior to meeting with me for the very first time that I needed to take an anti-psychotic medication for the rest of my life. She maintained those predispositions the entire 4.5 years that I met with her because she dismissed everything I said as delusional or an indication that I had no insight.

According to Dr. Jonathon, clearly, I have a serious psychotic disorder, but my decision to drive after taking sleeping pills was not due to any illness. It was simply a misjudgment on my part on whether I would be able to drive all the way home with sleeping pills in my system. And I agree with him, except for the psychotic disorder part, which is actually a combination of spiritual communication and finding fault with God.

Crown No Longer Seeking an NCR Finding

Nevertheless, Dr. Johnathon’s opinion gave me what I wanted — at least the part where I didn’t want to be found NCR. That was the argument I needed against Dr. Potlick’s not criminally responsible decision. After hearing about Dr. Johnathon’s opinion, the Crown Prosecutor decided he will no longer seek an NCR finding. However, the Crown did want to impose a $1,000 fine and a one-year driving suspension, to begin only after the judge finalizes her decision. This means the fact that I haven’t been able to drive since 2017 can’t be taken into account for this driving suspension.

However, does that mean I can now retry to go through the Mental Health Court Program to avoid a criminal record? At this time, it is still unclear how the Mental Health Court will deal with an application in which the applicant has two conflicting opinions with respect to NCR. I may yet end up with the same outcome as though I plead guilty. I guess, in the end, I will be pleading guilty after all and be done with it.

Arjuna D. Ghose lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (most of the time). When he's not working on writing for this blog or his multi-volume memoir, The Struggle Within, he's usually working on web development and internet marketing projects or trying to help his daughter to ensure she grows up believing in herself, with happiness, and making good choices. He became a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in 1994 and continues to follow the teachings of Sri Chinmoy with the intention of making continuous progress toward the goal of fully actualizing and manifesting his spiritual nature.

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