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    William Tyrrell's foster mother is facing a new common assault charge.

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      William Tyrrell’s foster mother section 14 application

      William Tyrrell’s Foster Mother Facing New Common Assault Charge

      William Tyrrell’s foster mother is facing a new common assault charge.

      This follows her previously being charged with an assault on a child, along with her foster father.

      The foster parents cannot be named for legal reasons.

      The case will return to Hornsby Local Court on 29 April 2022.

      Common Assault Charges at Hornsby Local Court

      Both of William Tyrell’s foster parents are facing common assault charges at Hornsby Local Court.

      The 56-year-old foster mother and 54-year-old foster father were charged in November 2021.

      The assault on the child is alleged to have occurred at a home on Sydney’s north shore.

      They have both pleaded not guilty. The child is not William Tyrrell.

      The pair used pseudonyms when they appeared at Hornsby Court House by audio-visual link. Their faces did not appear on screen. 

      The specific allegations against them are suppressed. 

      Section 14 Mental Health Application

      The foster mother now has been charged with a fresh common assault offence.

      The new charge came after further investigations by detectives from Strike Force Rosann, which was established to probe the William Tyrell disappearance.

      The court was told that the foster mother would plead not guilty to the new charge as well.

      She also intends to make a section 14 mental health application. If this application is granted, then the charges will be dismissed pursuant to the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020.

      A psychologist had already assessed the foster mother in relation to the initial assault allegation, however a reassessment will now need to take place to address the new given the new assault charge. 

      The matter will return to Hornsby Local Court on April 29, when the foster mother’s section 14 application will be determined. 

      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.

      Hornsby criminal lawyers note that 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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