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Mental Health Court Liaison Services

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Mental Health Court Liaison Services

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Discuss about the Mental health Court Liaison Services.

The aim of the discussion is to evaluate how the Mental Health Court of Australia has been used. Greater focus will be made on the use of these institutions in Queensland. Mental Health Court in Queensland is unique; it has its flaws in terms of the constraint resources and it is the best system for those who have been charged with offences and also suffers through mental illness and disability.
The Mental Health Court in Australia replaced the Mental Health Tribunal that used to serve the similar function and existed since 1980s. It was in February 2002, that this court started to function under the Mental Health Act 2000 (Mhrt.qld.gov.au 2016). The Court has two Supreme Court Judges, and they are assisted by two well experienced forensic psychiatrists. The major function of the Court is to determine the exact area where there remains the possibility of insanity or unfitness for trial.
Liaison service of the Mental Health Court in Australia:
All the Australian states and the territories have liaison with the Mental Health Courts except the Northern Territory (Davidson et al. 2016). The primary aim is to identify the health condition of the person who has been charged. The court liaison service is to identify the mental state by various stages of trail. The aim is to give justice to the sufferers rather than putting the person on remand for the crime that might have been conducted under unconsciousness (Scott et al. 2013).
In the South East Queensland, the Metro North Mental Health Service Court Liaison Service provides service to the court. The primary purpose of this liaison is to take immediate response towards assessment, liaison, referral and even the diversion of the mentally ill individuals in the custody (Heslin et al. 2016). By the means of short term interventions, the prospected guilty are given assistance and support. This automatically facilitates a care for the people and correctional facilities to the community based services.
Who can be charged in a Mental Health Court?
The court is responsible for charging a person with any indictable offence. A person charge with claims like personal violence, assault to murder, and any psychotic assaults are charged in Mental Health Courts (Leese 2016). Other offences include sex or property related offences. However, sometime fraud committed by bipolar sufferers in a maniac phase or a person suffering from dementia, usually involve questions of unfitness.
The Director of Mental Health, where a person with mental health issue is already present; the director of Public Prosecutions from the Supreme court or even a District court can refer a person to the Mental Health Court if found guilty (Heslin et al. 2016). However, these cases are not very common and those who are already in mental state are more likely to be referred here. It is only when the questions of unsoundness and unfitness are resolved by thorough checks and identifications the ill person is sent on the remand.
How the Mental Health Court works?
The reference of the person is accompanied with expert reports. Each party is supposed to present the reports to the court irrespective of the detrimental situation of the one found guilty. The court examines the report by the court-appointed experts (Scott et al. 2013). The assisted psychiatrists review the references and other accompanied information to determine the current state of the accused. In this respect, it has to be mentioned that due to constrained budgetary resources, the court at times often delay the procedure.
It has been found that majority of the cases that are directed by the lawyers to the court. Many cases are dismissed at the court because it is observed that the guilty has committed the crime because the person is unsound or has been suffering from mental health issues (Morrison 2013). People accused of murder cases were also not found guilty due to their health state. The main courts have been relying on the service of these Mental Health Courts for proper justice to the accused.
An analysis on the working of the Mental Health Court of Australia has been made. The Court is responsible to charge a person with unsound mental condition or other intellectual disability. A person who is not fit for trial in a Supreme or the District court is brought here. The judgement of the court is accompanied by the decision of forensic experts.
Davidson, F., Heffernan, E., Greenberg, D., Butler, T. and Burgess, P., 2016. A critical review of mental health court liaison services in Australia: a first national survey. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 23(6), pp.908-921.
Heslin, M., Callaghan, L., Barrett, B., Lea, S., Eick, S., Morgan, J., Bolt, M., Thornicroft, G., Rose, D., Healey, A. and Patel, A., 2016. Costs of the police service and mental healthcare pathways experienced by individuals with enduring mental health needs. The British Journal of Psychiatry, pp.bjp-bp.
Leese, M., 2016. Mental Health & Policing: A perspective from the ‘front-line’of police custody.
Mhrt.qld.gov.au 2016 Mental Health Review Tribunal Available at: https://www.mhrt.qld.gov.au/?page_id=30 [Accessed on: 25-3-2017]
Morrison, A., 2013 Mental Health Court dismissed more than half of cases Available at: https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/mental-health-court-dismissed-more-half-cases-repo/1844170/ [Accessed on: 25-3-2017]
Scott, D.A., McGilloway, S., Dempster, M., Browne, F. and Donnelly, M., 2013. Effectiveness of criminal justice liaison and diversion services for offenders with mental disorders: a review. Psychiatric Services, 64(9), pp.843-849.

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