Mr. Speaker, picking up from where I left off last evening, the second change that would enhance safety is the inclusion of those individuals found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder within the DNA data bank scheme. We currently have in the House Bill C-10 which proposes important changes to the provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with the mentally disordered offender.
While Parliament rightly does not submit persons who have a mental disorder conviction to imprisonment because of their diminished responsibility, we must remember that these persons have been found beyond a reasonable doubt to have done the act that constitutes the physical element of the offence. It is clear they may be very dangerous and so they are made subject to the jurisdiction of a provincial review board.
By making it possible for a judge to order that their DNA profiles be included in the DNA data bank, we may be solving crimes that they have committed in the past. As well, if they should be released and commit a crime where they leave their DNA, we will solve that crime.
Members should remember, however, that having their DNA in the data bank could be a benefit to a mentally disordered offender who has been released into the community. In the event of a crime similar to the one for which they were tried being committed near where they reside, they are likely to be suspects. However, if their DNA does not match the DNA from the crime scene, the police will know they were not involved and leave them undisturbed.
Another important change is creating a process for compelling the offender to attend at a specified time and place to provide a DNA sample. The current legislation requires that a DNA sample be taken at the time the person is convicted or as soon thereafter as is feasible. This has proven unworkable on the ground in some jurisdictions. The police cannot always have a trained officer attending at every court and so the courts have been ordering offenders to present themselves at the police station at a specified time. Unfortunately, this procedure was not foreseen by the Criminal Code so there is no express provision for issuing a warrant to arrest the person if he or she does not show up. Some offenders who should be in the data bank have not shown up and the police need the tools to make the court order effective.
Bill C-13 would permit a judge to make an order for the taking of a DNA sample at a time other than the imposing of the sentence. It also provides a warrant for the arrest of the person if the person fails to appear for that DNA sampling. As a result of consultations with the provinces, the warrant will be for the purpose of taking a sample rather than for the more usual arrest and bringing the offender back to the court that made the order. This means that an offender convicted in Toronto who skips and then is subsequently arrested in Vancouver will not have to be flown back at great expense to have the finger pricked for that test. The Vancouver police will be able to do it under the DNA data bank order.
While it is not known how many offenders have failed to show up, I understand this is a major concern for the police. We should move swiftly to fix this problem.
The most important changes proposed by Bill C-13 are the changes in the list of designated offences covered by the DNA data bank scheme. The list of designated offences is the lynchpin of this legislation. A DNA warrant can only be granted for a designated offence and the crime scene index only contains DNA found at the scene of or on the victim of a designated offence.
It is very important that the members of the House consider sending the legislation immediately to the committee so that we can put in place those issues that I have been outlining here today. They are of great concern to the police, the provinces and those of us in the House.