Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and the Criminal Justice System (live stream)

Live Stream 2 CPD Hrs
Thu 11 October | 4:00PM - 6:15PM | Your desk or on your portable device


People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) don’t make good decisions due to alcohol exposed brain damage before birth, which makes them vulnerable to ending up in the criminal justice system.

FASD is an invisible neurodisability with implications for ascertaining criminal responsibility, participation, false confessions and Family Court resolutions. Research suggests that up to 75% of youths involved in the justice system may have a mental disorder or disability. FASD is a leading but often unrecognised cause.

This seminar headed by a Canadian expert in the field of Forensic Psychiatry and FASD will explore what lawyers need to know when dealing with a client who may have FASD.

In a recent media release Judge Andrew Becroft said "...those with FASD are significantly and disproportionately reflected in the crime statistics". 
To read the media release click here.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a greater understanding of FASD, its associated implications, and the intersection of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) by individuals with FASD.
  • Learn more about how FASD is assessed so that you will know what type of evidence you need to call.
  • Receive guidance on cases that illustrate the neurocognitive implications of the intersection of FASD with the CJS.
  • Learn more about recommendations for making the CJS more FASD informed.

 Who should attend?

Practitioners in Criminal Law, Family Law, and Mental Health Law. This will also benefit Prosecutors, Police, Forensic Teams, and those who practise in the Mental Health and Social Services Area.


Live stream registration only

Please note this page is only for registration to attend via live stream.

To register to attend in person click here


Professor Mansfield Mela
Psychiatry Clinical Professor
University of Saskatchewan

Prof Mansfield Mela is a professor in the department of Psychiatry, University of Saskatchewan. He is an associate faculty member of the College of Law and teaches medical and law undergraduate and post graduate students.

As an expert he has been called upon to testify on various aspects of the interface of law and psychiatry. This includes criminal and civil matters. His research focuses on psycho-legal aspects of forensic mental health, with specific interests and expertise in the area of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

Under the Canada Research network of Canada (CanFASD), a multidisciplinary group of researchers, policy makers and family of caregivers, he serves as the Research Co-Lead in the diagnostic domain. 

Professor Glen Luther
College of Law
University of Saskatchewan

Professor Luther joined the faculty of the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan in 2003, having previously held teaching positions at Osgoode Hall Law School, Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and the University of Calgary. He has extensive practice experience as a criminal lawyer, having practiced at all levels of courts including the Supreme Court of Canada. Currently his practice is limited to consulting with other counsel and assisting them in the presentation of cases before the courts.

He regularly presents at judicial conferences through the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges (CAPCJ). He was for many years a team leader in the Intensive Trial Advocacy Programme for practicing lawyers at the University of Calgary. His academic interests include Police Powers, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Criminal Law, Procedure and Sentencing, Evidence Law, and Mental Health Law.

He is a close collaborator with Dr. Mansfield Mela, forensic psychiatrist, and they co-teach the Law and Psychiatry Seminars together to both law students and psychiatric residents. He is on the steering committee of the Mental Health Strategy Court in Saskatoon and a member of the evaluation team, through the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Justice Studies, for the Mental Health Strategy. 

Jonathan Krebs

Jonathan’s thirty year career has seen him involved almost exclusively in Court work. He is currently a Barrister with Chambers in Napier and in Auckland. His principal focus is criminal defence work at all levels including Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

From 2009 until 2017 he was lead counsel in the quest to have Teina Pora’s convictions for rape and murder quashed.  After successfully bringing an appeal to the Privy Council he then set about leading the claim for compensation. Through his work for Teina he has an acute awareness of the many and varied ways in which FASD impacts on those within the criminal justice system.

Dr Valerie McGinn

The FASD Centre, Aotearoa

Dr Valerie McGinn is a Clinical Neuropsychologist who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of FASD. She works in a multidisciplinary team in private practice in Auckland, as well as developing services and support for people with FASD and their families.

She provides FASD evidence to NZ Courts so that the effects of the neurodisability can be understood and taken into consideration. She advises on the care and management of children and young people with FASD in Oranga Tamariki care and in the Criminal Justice system. Dr McGinn is a founding and current board member of FASD-CAN (Care Action Network).


His Honour Judge Recordon