Assault Charges – Accused With Mental Health Issues

This is case of multiple assault charges involving an accused with mental health issues.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was admitted into the High Support Area (HSA) of the Austin Hospital after his wife reported a marked deterioration in his mental health. Whilst in the HSA and during a period of psychosis, our client assaulted a mental health nurse. The injuries sustained by the nurse were towards the lower end of the spectrum (bruising). It was not in dispute that our client was very unwell and was experiencing auditory hallucinations. He had been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been admitted into hospital following episodes of psychosis on 3 occasions in the preceding 10 years.

The client was charged with the following offences:

We acted on the client’s behalf at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court.

What happened at court?
Early consideration was directed as to whether a defence of mental impairment might be argued on the basis of our client’s mental condition at the time of the offence. On balance, in order for our client to avoid a criminal record, it was decided that a better and less stressful course would be to apply for a diversion.

Our client was remorseful for his behaviour. He provided a letter of apology to the prosecution at a very early stage, with a suggestion that it be forwarded on to the victim at the Informant’s discretion.

Medical records were obtained from the hospital and from our client’s treating psychologist. These records described the severity of his symptoms upon his admission into the HSA.

The client had also voluntarily sought the treatment of a psychologist following his discharge from hospital. Having obtained a useful and detailed report from our client’s treating psychologist, a written application for diversion was made directly to the prosecution. Attached to these written submissions were the medical reports pertaining to our client.

What was the result?
The prosecution were content to recommend diversion after consulting with the victim. Were it not for the compassionate approach taken by the victim, a diversion application for assault charges involving an accused with mental health issues would have been more difficult. The matter proceeded to court and the application for diversion was approved.

This was an exceptional result for our client as he avoided a criminal record. Had he been convicted, it would most certainly impede his ability to re-enter the workforce and thus negatively affect his continued rehabilitation.

DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 10/01/2018