Facts: Assault police and resist officer in execution of duty
JC worked 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 belief 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.
After arrest, he faced charges of:
- Assault police – section 60 Crimes Act 1900
- resist officer in execution of duty – section 546C Crimes Act 1900
Mental health defence
Defence lawyers engaged a psychiatrist to provide a report about the state of JC’s mental health. This was particularly in relation to his substance abuse and psychotic behaviour and delusional beliefs related to crystal methylamphetamine.
The report demonstrated that JC had a mental health condition. Namely a substance abuse disorder which was in remission. Also, he had suffered paranoid delusions about police trying to kill him when committing the offence. Consequently criminal defence lawyers made an application under s.32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act to dismiss the matters in the Local Court.
Outcome: Dismissal of charges
The Local Court Magistrate heard lengthy submissions focused primarily on the reports from the psychiatrist. Based on these, the magistrate accepted that firstly JC did have a mental illness for which treatment was available. This was namely a substance abuse disorder related to psychotic behaviour whilst under the influence of crystal methylamphetamine.
Secondly, the Magistrate felt that it was appropriate to deal with the matter under the provisions of the Mental Health Act rather than under criminal law.
The Magistrate dismissed the charges pursuant to a treatment plan under section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990.