Common Assault Charges Dismissed in Court After a Successful s32 Mental Health Application

Our 25-year old client is works full time in the IT sector and lives at home with his mother.

He suffers from High Functioning Autism (also known as Aspergers Syndrome).

This condition means that he has difficulties reading the social cues of others and further difficulties in social interactions.

He also struggles with non-verbal communication. As a result, it is extremely difficult for him to maintain relationships.

In August 2018, an argument broke out between our client and his mother over some photos.

Our client tried to deal with the situation in a calm manner however the argument escalated and our client was alleged to have pushed his mother twice, causing her to fall over.

There were two distinct altercations where on each occasion he was alleged to have pushed her. He was later arrested and charged for common assault pursuant to section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

When approached by police about the alleged incident, he told them that because of his Aspergers- he gets triggered by sensory overload and this caused him to become angry and frustrated at the noise. He said that this occurred when his mother was yelling whilst being in his personal space.

Our client approached our criminal defence lawyers team in Parramatta. He was guided at every step of his case whilst his case was thoroughly prepared and represented in court, where our lawyers do all the talking.

Our senior lawyer, Mr Khan, thoroughly prepared his case strengthening his self-defence argument.

We appeared at the Blacktown Local Court where the matter proceeded to hearing on a plea of not guilty.

Understandable, our client didn’t want his mother to go through the traumatic experience of the stresses of giving evidence in the witness box.

As a result of this, the charges were successfully negotiated with police who agreed to drop one of the common assault charges, which left our client to face just one charge. On that basis, we then made a section 32 mental health application to the Magistrate in court under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW).

In preparation for this application, we obtained a compelling section 32 report from an experienced psychologist to produce to the court- which was accepted by the Magistrate who then granted the s32 application, dismissing the charge and imposing that he continue his current treatment with his treating psychiatrist for 12 months.

In support of the application, further subjective documents, including medical reports and character references were also prepared to strengthen the application in court.

The court was convinced that there were strong grounds to grant the section 32 application as it was more appropriate to deal with our client through the diversionary process of being treated in the community by a psychiatrist than be punished under the criminal justice system. The court took into consideration that the offence was towards the lower of the objective seriousness, our client had no prior offences, he was young and there was a strong causal link between his medical condition and his offending conduct.

This means that our client avoided a criminal conviction and is being given the opportunity to continue to receive treatment in the community. He has also made other significant changes in his life to remove himself from the stressful environments to ensure that such behaviour never occurs again.

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