Decision #00/20 - Type: Victims' Rights
The claimant is appealing the decision by the Manitoba Compensation for Victims of Crime Program (the "Program") denying his application for compensation under The Victims' Bill of Rights (the "VBR"). A file review was held on December 5, 2019 to consider the claimant's appeal.
Whether or not the application for compensation is acceptable.
The application for compensation is not acceptable.
On June 4, 2019, the claimant filed an application for compensation under the Program for an incident that took place on August 10, 2018. The claimant stated that he was shot in a random shooting. The claimant returned to his residence to call an ambulance and was taken to hospital.
On September 4, 2019, the Program determined that the claim was not eligible for compensation under s 54.1(3) of the VBR. The Program noted that a review of the Manitoba court records indicated the claimant had been convicted of one prescribed offence in the past and he did not meet the requirement for an exception. On September 25, 2019, the claimant submitted a Request for Reconsideration noting that since the incident, he had been diagnosed with mental health disorders which required further treatment, including medications.
On October 7, 2019, the Acting Executive Director of the Program confirmed the decision to deny the claimant's application. The Acting Executive Director found that court records indicated the claimant had been convicted of a prescribed offence within the past ten years, and as a result, he was not eligible for compensation.
On October 25, 2019, the claimant appealed the decision to the Appeal Commission and a file review was arranged.
The issue before the panel at this hearing is whether or not the application for compensation is acceptable.
Provision for the compensation of victims of crime is set out in Part 5 of the VBR. Section 54.1(2) provides no compensation is payable under Part 5 of the VBR where the victim has been convicted of a prescribed offence. The VBR in s 54.1(1) defines "prescribed offence" as an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada) or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada) that is prescribed in the regulations. Section 54.1(3) creates an exception to the prohibition in s 54.1(2), as follows:
54.1(3) As an exception to subsection (2), the director may, in accordance with the regulations, pay compensation under this Part if
(a) the victim's conviction for the prescribed offence occurred more than 10 years before the incident that resulted in the victim's injury or death; and
(b) the victim has not been convicted of any offence under the Criminal Code (Canada) or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada) since he or she was convicted of the prescribed offence.
The claimant's submission is outlined in the Appeal of Victim Compensation Decision document dated October 25, 2019. In that document, the claimant sets out his request for appeal to cover the medical and treatment costs because he does not have other coverage for those expenses. Additional detail is provided in the Request for Reconsideration made to the Director of the
Victims of Crime Program, dated September 25, 2019. In that document, the claimant noted that since the injury occurred on August 10, 2018, he has been diagnosed with various mental health disorders, requiring treatment by medication and psychological therapy. These are the treatment costs that the claimant is requesting be covered under the provisions of the VBR.
For the appeal on this issue to be successful, the panel must find that the claimant is or should be entitled to compensation under Part 5 of the VBR. The panel is unable to make that finding for the reasons set out below.
The panel accepts that the claimant was seriously injured in the incident that took place on August 10, 2018.
The requirements for eligibility for compensation as a victim of crime under the VBR include the requirement that compensation cannot be paid if the victim as been convicted of a prescribed offence as defined by the VBR and the regulations.
A search of the Manitoba court records relating to the claimant, which is documented on the file, reveals that the claimant has one conviction for a prescribed offence to which he pled guilty on August 22, 2016. The panel notes that this offence falls within the scope of subsection 54.1 of the VBR as a prescribed offence, being an offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that is prescribed in the regulations.
The VBR does not allow any discretion in respect to applying the prohibition on compensation in s 54.1(2), unless any of the exceptions set out in s 54.1(3) apply.
On the facts before the panel, we are unable to find that any of the exceptions apply. The conviction for the prescribed offence took place less than 10 years before the incident in which the claimant was injured. Further, the claimant must not have been convicted of any offence under the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act since the conviction for the prescribed offence. The court records relating to the claimant, on file, reveal that he has no less than 3 further convictions for offences under the Criminal Code to which he has pled guilty since his conviction for the prescribed offence.
The claimant has been convicted of a prescribed offence within the past 10 years and has been convicted of further offences since that time. He is not, therefore, eligible to receive any compensation under the provisions of the VBR.
The claimant's appeal is therefore dismissed.
K. Dyck, Presiding Officer
P. Challoner, Commissioner
M. Kernaghan, Commissioner
Recording Secretary, J. Lee
K. Dyck - Presiding Officer
(on behalf of the panel)
Signed at Winnipeg this 9th day of January, 2020