Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT TYPES OF MATTERS ARE ELIGIBLE?
Patients currently on a Forensic Order or an Involuntary Treatment Order may also be entitled to legal representation before the Mental Health Review Tribunal and/or the Mental Health Court.
REFERRING CLIENTS FOR REPRESENTATION
If you are a child eligible for this service, you will need to contact the DLP lawyer before your appearance in the Children’s Court to arrange an appointment.
If you are a patient at either the Toowoomba Acute Mental Health Unit or Baillie Henderson Hospital, referrals can be made by yourself, an allied person, a family member or the hospital social worker.
The TASC Disability Law Project aims to assist persons with impaired capacity who are (or might be) charged with an offence before the Court. Sometimes, a person with an intellectual disability, or a mental illness, or a brain injury is unable to fully understand the nature of the charges against them, and the reason why the charges were brought. At TASC, we listen to the client and then ensure that a TASC Lawyer is able to fully explain the issue of the client’s capacity to the Magistrate. We also arrange for a TASC Advocate, experienced in issues of disability, to assist the client with the issues that might have led to the charges brought, and to help create a positive alternative and personal solution for the client.
Here are some examples of the work done in the Disability Law Project.
No Charges laid
Mr S was referred to TASC by the office of the Adult Guardian (AG) after he was charged with Going Armed to cause fear, Enter Premises and steal and Commit public nuisance. Mr S was admitted as an inpatient at the Mental Health Unit at the hospital immediately after the offences and was an inpatient for 2 months. A TASC Lawyer arranged for a psychiatric assessment that ultimately said that Mr S was of sound mind at the time and fit for trial. The TASC Lawyer was successful in having the common assault and enter premises charges dropped – and the facts amended to remove any reference to actual violence. Mr S entered a plea of guilty to Stealing and Going armed to cause fear. He was sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour bond with a recognisance and no conviction was recorded.
No conviction recorded
Mr S presented with some issues surrounding his fitness for trial, namely that he was hard to follow and had difficulty answering direct questions. A TASC Lawyer was able to obtain Legal Aid funding for a report to examine these issues. The Doctor provided a report that Mr S was fit for trial and that he was intoxicated at the time of the offences. The report also illuminated the extent of his intellectual disability. With the assistance of the report, the TASC Lawyer was able to get a reduced fine for Mr S, and no conviction was recorded.