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    William Tyrrell’s foster mother has had her Section 14 mental health application dismissed.

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      William Tyrrell’s foster mother section 14 application

      William Tyrrell Foster Mother Makes Section 14 Mental Health Application

      Posted By , on July 4, 2022

      William Tyrrell’s foster mother has had her Section 14 mental health application dismissed.

      The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly kicked and assaulted a child with a wooden spoon.

      She appeared at Parramatta Local Court alongside her partner.

      Both of William Tyrell’s foster parents will now have to wait until January 2023 to defend the allegations.

      Common Assault Charges

      The foster mother was charged with common assault in October 2021.

      The police facts alleged that the woman kicked a girl in the thigh, causing “pain, discomfort and bruising.”

      It was also alleged that the girl had been struck with a wooden spoon.

      The psychologist report suggested that the foster mother kicked the girl because she believed she was about to kick another child.

      This is known as self defence, or defence of another. It is a full defence to assault pursuant to Section 418 of the Crimes Act 1900.

      Police also claimed that the foster mother verbally abused the child over a span of time. She allegedly told a friend, “I need to break her.”

      The presiding Magistrate said, “Seems that the alleged victim began to act up to some extent.”

      The foster mother was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and PTSD. His Honour found that her mental conditions appeared to partially relate to the, “difficult relationship she had with her mother and the loss of her mother in most recent years … in fairly difficult circumstances.”

      The court found that it was unlikely the foster mother would re-offend.

      In applying the factors under Section 15 of the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020, the court indicated that it would have imposed a community corrections order if she was being sentenced.

      Ultimately, it held that the public interest was best served by dealing with the matter at law rather than diverting the foster mother pursuant to mental health legislation.

      The section 14 mental health application was formally dismissed.

      As such, the matter will return to Parramatta Local Court in January 2023 for a defended hearing.

      The foster father charged with intimidation and common assault. He has pleaded not guilty to both offences.

      Section 14 Mental Health Application

      If a Section 14 mental health application is granted, then the charges will be dismissed pursuant to the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020.

      A ‘section 14 application’ is a mental health application for criminal charges to be dismissed without a conviction or finding of guilt. It is usually on the condition that a person complies with a mental health treatment or support plan, which can last for up to 12 months.

      In order to successfully get a section 14 application, you must satisfy the court of the following criteria:

      1. You have a mental health impairment or cognitive impairment, and
      2. It is more appropriate to deal with you under the section than otherwise in accordance with the law.

      The biggest benefit of a section 14 application is that it allows a person to avoid a criminal record whether they are ultimately guilty of the offence(s) or not.

      Another benefit is that a Section 14 application can be made at any time. This is advantageous as cases can take months or even years before they reach a final hearing date and a person is found ‘not guilty’. A section 14 mental health application can be made early in proceedings and if successful, result in the case being dismissed without needing to wait for a lengthy period of time.

      Even if a section 14 application is unsuccessful, it will not affect the case as a whole. Whether a person maintains a plea of ‘not guilty’ or enters a plea of guilty, the court still has the power to make a section 14 order.

      Under Section 15 of the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020, the Court will consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant a section 14 application:

      1. The nature of your mental health impairment or cognitive impairment,
      2. The nature, seriousness and circumstances of the alleged offence,
      3. Your suitability for the sentencing options available if you were found guilty of the offence,
      4. Any relevant change to your circumstances since the alleged offence
      5. Your criminal history,
      6. Whether you have previously received an order under the section or an equivalent section,
      7. Whether a treatment or support plan has been prepared in relation to you,
      8. Whether you are a danger to yourself, the complainant or a member of the public, and
      9. Any other relevant factors.

      If a person breaches a Section 14 order, then you can be brought back before the court and sentenced according to law. This means that you may receive a criminal record or more serious penalties, including a possible jail term.

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