Tag Archives: crime

Is Mental Illness a Free Pass?

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Last month a Toronto man was charged with online stalking (including threats and harassment), but will serve no jail time. His defense: mental illness.

In early December, after Metro’s initial story was published and before he was arrested, Sopinka contacted Metro and wrote that he had gone off his medication for the past year, but checked into a hospital after the story came out. He said his mental health had affected his decisions.

“Most communication with Bruno, save for the last week, has been done while I was in a “down” mood and wanting her to feel the anguish I felt at the time. This is why any comments about rape or her brother occurred, as those are particular emotional pain points for any human,” he wrote.

I understand why someone who suffers from a serious mental illness would be put into a mental institution instead of prison. I can also understand why someone suffering a break from reality would be spared the same fate as someone whose actions were intentional. The basis of these decisions is usually whether or not the person was aware that what they were doing was wrong. But have we gotten to a point were we will use any excuse to avoid taking responsibility for our actions?

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