April 24, 2015

Violence offence arrest and charges: DPP v JC

Facts: Assault police and resist officer in execution of duty

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 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.

He faced charges of:

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.

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: Dismissal of charges

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. 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 pursuant to the provisions of the Mental Health Act rather that pursuant to criminal law.

The Magistrate dismissed the charges pursuant to a treatment plan under section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990.