R. v. Parks Supreme Court of Canada Hearing:, Judgment: Full case name: Her Majesty The Queen v. Kenneth James Parks Citations: 1992 2 S.C.R. 871 Docket No.: 22073 Ruling: Appeal Dismissed Court membership Chief Justice: Lamer C.J., Reasons given "Ken Parks" redirects here. For the 2002 film, see Ken Park.R. v. Parks, 1992 2 S.C.R. 871 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on the criminal automatism defence. In an early morning in May 1987, Ken Parks drove to the house of his wife's parents. He attacked both of them with a kitchen knife, killing the mother and leaving the father seriously injured. Following the attack Parks went to the police station and turned himself in. At trial, Parks argued that he was automatistic and not criminally liable. In his defence a doctor testified as to his mental state at the time of the murder. From the doctor's evidence it was deterimined that the accused was sleepwalking at the time of the incident, and that he was suffering from a psychiatric rather than neurological illness. The jury acquitted Parks. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the condition of sleepwalking can be classified as non-insane automatism or should it be classified as "disease of the mind" (ie. mental disorder automatism) and warrant a verdict of "not guilty for reason of insanity". This distinction is a matter of law and decided by the judge. The court upheld the acquittal as the evidence presented a reasonable doubt that Parks acted voluntarily. Opinion of the Court, Antonio Lamer held that the trial judge was correct in his analysis of the evidence and his decision not to characterize sleepwalking as a mental disorder. La Forest, writing for L'Heureux-Dubé and Gonthier JJ., agreed with Lamer in the characterization of the evidence, but looked further into the public policy of the defence. La Forest noted that the defence of mental disorder provides for a criminal exception which must be weighed against the interest in public safety. The applicability of the defence must focus on the likelihood of recurrence. For a person to be exempt from criminal liability under the "disease of the mind" defence (1) they must be a "continuing danger" to the public and (2) the condition must be an "internal cause" that stems from the accused's emotional or psychological state.
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