Mental Health Court - criminal
How are forensic patients reviewed?
The Mental Health Review Tribunal conducts a review of forensic patients every six months or on application.
The tribunal has the power to discharge the patient, approve limited community treatment and order the patient’s transfer to another hospital or removal from Queensland. The tribunal considers factors including the patient’s treatment, security needs and the safety of the community.
How is fitness for trial reviewed?
The Mental Health Review Tribunal reviews fitness for trial every three months for the first 12 months, and thereafter at six month intervals. Proceedings are discontinued if the person remains unfit for trial for three years. However, this period is extended to seven years if the person is charged with offences that carry a sentence of life imprisonment.
How are victims of crime considered?
A victim of crime, or a concerned person, can submit a statement to the Mental Health Court via a sworn affidavit to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
This statement may be subject to a confidentiality order by the court.
If the court decides that the person charged with a personal offence was of unsound mind or is permanently unfit for trial and does not make a forensic order, the court may make a non-contact order relating to a victim or a concerned person.
If the court does make a forensic order it may order limited community treatment which includes a non-contact condition relating to a victim or a concerned person.
The Queensland Health Victim Support Service is a state-wide service which provides assistance for victims of offences committed by people who are identified as having a mental illness.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions also employs victim liaison officers to help victims of violent crimes and their family members.
Can I appeal the court’s decision?
A Mental Health Court decision on a reference can be appealed to the Court of Appeal by a party to the proceeding.
Do I have a right to go to trial?
The court proceedings will be discontinued if the defendant is found to be of unsound mind when they committed the alleged offence.
However, the defendant may apply to go to trial by filing a Form 12 – Notice of election to go to trial (MHA) to the Attorney-General.
Do I have to be legally represented?
It is recommended that you appoint a solicitor or barrister who will be able to discuss your case and provide you with information about court processes.
However, you will not usually be required to speak at the hearing.
You may wish to contact Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 1188 for assistance.