Violence offence arrest and charges: DPP v JC

Key Words: Assault police – section 60 Crimes  Act 1900 – resist officer in execution of duty – section 546C Crimes  Act 1900section 32 Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 – dismissal of charges

Facts:

JC was employed in the aviation industry. Unfortunately he had a long standing addiction to the drug crystal methyl-amphetamine (“ice”). The addiction was such that when he abused the drug he entered a state of psychotic paranoia. He came to the mistaken and deluded believe that police coming to assist him were trying to kill him. Consequently, he pushed, punched, kicked and spat at police officers who were in the course of their duty.

A psychiatrist was engaged to provide a report about the state of JC’s mental health, particularly in relation to his substance abuse and psychotic behaviour and delusional beliefs related to crystal methylamphetamine. As a consequence of the report demonstrating that JC had a mental health condition, namely a substance abuse disorder which was in remission and had suffered paranoid delusions about police trying to kill him when committing the offence, an application under s.32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act to dismiss the matters was made in the Local Court.

Outcome:

The Local Court Magistrate, after hearing lengthy submissions focused primarily on the reports from the psychiatrist, accepted that firstly JC did have a mental illness for which treatment was available (namely substance abuse disorder related to psychotic behaviour whilst under the influence of crystal methylamphetamine) and secondly that it was appropriate to deal with the matter pursuant to the provisions of the Mental Health Act rather that pursuant to law.

The Magistrate dismissed the charges pursuant to a treatment plan under s.32 of the Crimes (Mental Health Forensic Provisions) Act.