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We provide free legal, advocacy & social services

Servicing Toowoomba, Ipswich, and the South West Region

TASC Creating Solutions Together

FAQ’S THE DISABILITY LAW PROJECT

Hi, You’re at the FAQ’S FOR THE DISABILITY LAW PROJECT!

Frequently Asked Questions

DLP


 

Eligibility

WHAT TYPES OF MATTERS ARE ELIGIBLE?
Eligible people may get assistance for representation on a plea & in some circumstances in summary trails in the Toowoomba & Ipswich Magistrates Court.

 

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
Clients can be referred directly to the DLP lawyer prior to their appearance in the Magistrates Court. However, the Disability Law Project also provides duty lawyer services to people with a disability every day at the Toowoomba Magistrates Court  and by arrangement, at the Ipswich Magistrates Court.

 

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.

RECENT PUBLICATION
Rough Justice takes an in-depth look at disability and criminal law. Click here to obtain the primer, Rough Justice

CASE STUDIES

 

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 H was a juvenile who was possibly being charged with possession of cannabis. A TASC Lawyer attended the police station with him where he agreed to drug diversion and there was no charge made by the Police.
Charges dismissed
Ms T was charged by police with drug possession under the deeming provisions of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986, even though she was not present when the search occurred and there was no evidence to prove that she was in control of the premises – it was merely the assertions of the other offenders who were present during the search that supported the allegations. Ms T had a psychiatric illness and was unable to represent herself, however she was able to provide instructions. A TASC Lawyer acted on her behalf and proceeded the hearing. The charges were dismissed after one of the crucial prosecution witnesses, the police officer who found the drugs, failed to attend the hearing.
Charges discontinued
Mr M presented to an initial interview at TASC with his father and he was clearly psychotic. He was on no form of treatment order. He had been charged with ‘Attempted unlawful entry of a motor vehicle for committing an indictable offence’. His father was worried about the offence and about his son’s illness. A TASC Lawyer represented Mr M and a TASC Advocate also gave some general advice to his father about the Mental Health System. Because of this, Mr M was placed on an involuntary treatment order, and the provisions under the Mental Health Act 2016 ensured that the charge against him was discontinued.
Charges reduced

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. 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.

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