NCR: Not Criminally Responsible

NCR: Not Criminally Responsible is a 2013 Canadian documentary film by John Kastner, exploring the effects of the mental disorder defence in Canada, by following the stories of Sean Clifton, who stabbed and badly injured a woman in a shopping mall while he was in a delusional state, and his traumatized victim. It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.[1][2]

NCR: Not Criminally Responsible
Directed byJohn Kastner
Produced byJohn Kastner
Silva Basmajian
Written byJohn Kastner
Release date
  • April 28, 2013 (2013-04-28) (Hot Docs)
Running time
98 minutes


The victim was stabbed several times outside a shopping mall in Cornwall, Ontario on October 7, 1999 by Clifton, who had waited in the parking lot for the next attractive young woman to walk by. Clifton had been bullied at school and found it hard to develop a relationship with any girls. He was arrested and later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with obsessive compulsive disorder. He was determined to be suffering from a mental disorder that made him unfit for trial.[3]

The film includes scenes inside the Brockville Mental Health Centre, where Clifton was confined for treatment including therapy. It also explores his life after release, using medication and becoming re-integrated into society.[4]


The film was premiered at the April 2013 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.[5] In September 2013, Kastner screened the film at the annual conference of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.[6]

The film first aired to a wider audience on CBC TV's Doc Zone, in a shortened version on October 17, 2013. The full-length version aired on October 20 on CBC’s Documentary Channel. The film is available on the website for download or on DVD.[6]

Although the victim of Clifton's attack had agreed to be filmed in the documentary only if her face were partially concealed in order to maintain her safety and privacy, she agreed to appear at the film's premiere in April 2013. She took questions from the audience and for the first time allowed her photo to be taken and published, by the Toronto Star. She has accepted an apology from her attacker.[5]

A sequel, called "NCR: Wedding Stories," was released in 2016.


  1. ^ Taylor, Kate (25 April 2013). "NCR: Not Criminally Responsible: When a victim's assailant is released". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  2. ^ Jones, Allison (19 April 2013). "Film explores the meaning of 'not criminally responsible'". The Globe and Mail. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  3. ^ Lofaro, Tony (14 October 2013). "A random act of violence". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  4. ^ Doyle, John (17 October 2013). "'Disturbing' doc takes an inside look at Sean Clifton and the perpetrator's experience". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b Knelman, Martin (25 April 2013). "Hot Docs: Victim of horrible attack to go public at screening of NCR film fest". Toronto Star. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  6. ^ a b Knelman, Martin (2 October 2013). "NCR: Not Criminally Responsible gets new life". Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 November 2013.

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