Our client is a 21 year old man living in north western Sydney.
He attended a night club in the Sydney CBD with friends on a Friday night and consumed both alcohol and cocaine.
Security asked him to leave the club due to his level of intoxication and he allegedly refused and pushed a security guard.
He allegedly continued a tirade of abuse outside the club when nearby police attended and intervened.
Our client allegedly began lashing out verbally and physically, and allegedly spat at police and security guards on multiple occasions.
He was arrested and a small amount of cocaine was found on him.
He was taken to the police station and charged with two counts of assault (against the security guards), three counts of assaulting police for allegedly striking and spitting at them, resisting arrest, possessing a prohibited drug, remaining at a licensed premises when excluded.
Our client was said to be uncontrollable and attempted to self-harm while in custody.
He was eventually released and saw us for advice.
Due to his actions, we referred him for a psychiatric assessment which found he was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. We obtained a report setting out his background, diagnosis and a treatment plan to assess his underlying issues.
We listed his case for an application under section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 for his charges to be dismissed on the basis that he has a mental condition and the matter is best dealt with through treatment by a mental health professional than under the general law.
The prosecution opposed the application essentially on the basis that the charges were too serious and numerous and that the diagnosed conditions could not be seen as an excuse for such conduct.
However, we made extensive submissions regarding the objectives of the legislation, the relevant case-law and how it is appropriate for the court to deal with our client by way of a treatment plan rather than convicting and sentencing him under the general law.
After answering a number of questions posed by the magistrate, he was ultimately convinced that it was indeed appropriate to deal with our client under section 32.
He therefore granted the order, which means our client does not have a criminal conviction or even a finding of guilt against him, but remains conviction-free provided he regularly sees his psychologist for 6 months for cognitive behavioural therapy, takes prescribed medication and sees his psychiatrist after 3 months.
This means there is a plan in place for our client to get the treatment he needs to avoid a reoccurrence of the conduct and to move forward with his life.