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Mental Health Court

The Mental Health Court (MHC) decides amongst other things, the state of mind of the person/s charged with criminal offences. If there is reasonable cause to believe that an alleged offender is or was mentally ill or has an intellectual disability of a degree that the person’s mental condition should be considered by the Mental Health Court then a criminal case may be referred to that court.

A case would be referred to the MHC to have the following questions answered:

  • Was the alleged offender of unsound mind at the time of the offence?
  • Is the alleged offender unfit for trial?
  • Is the unfitness for trial permanent?
  • If the charge is murder, was the alleged offender suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the offence?

Because the MHC is not bound by the rules of evidence it is able to accept material that may otherwise be inadmissible in general court proceedings. To this effect, victims of homicide can make what is called a non-party statement for the MHC.

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