The Crimes (Mental Impairment & Unfitness to be Tried Act) 1997 applies when the accused person states that:
Although ‘mental impairment’ is not defined in the law, it generally includes someone with a severe mental illness or disorder.
If the court finds an accused person unfit to stand trial or not guilty of the crime because of their mental impairment, they will generally place the person on a Supervision Order. This can be either a Custodial Supervision Order or one served in the community. A person on a Supervision Order is referred to as a Supervised Person.
Before the court places an offender on a Supervision Order, you will be given the opportunity to make a Victim or Family Member Report. For more information see the Victim or Family Member Reports section below.
The Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) has produced a guide called Prosecuting Mental Impairment Matters that explains the court process where mentally ill or cognitively impaired people are prosecuted for serious crimes. In particular it explains:
The Guide also includes:
There is also an online PDF version of the Victim or Family Member Report form which can be downloaded and filled in on the computer. When complete, the form can be printed and sworn as a statutory declaration.
If the accused is prosecuted under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997, you can make a Victim or Family Member Report telling the court about the impact of the crime on you.
The process under the Act is different to the standard trial process.
The Court will generally place an accused person on a Supervision Order where the person is either:
The Court will consider a number of things when making a Supervision Order, including any Victim or Family Member Reports.
You can make a Victim or Family Member Report if you are:
It is your choice whether or not to make a Victim or Family Member Report.
Making a report provides you with an opportunity to express your views about what the Supervised Person has done and the impact of their conduct on you.
Victim or Family Member Reports help the court decide:
If you make a report, the court is required to consider it before making the Supervision Order. The Office of Public Prosecutions has produced a guide, Prosecuting Mental Impairment Matters, which explains the process where a person who is mentally ill or cognitively impaired is prosecuted for a serious offence.
The guide includes a Victim or Family Member Report Form, which you can use to help you make your report. You do not have to use the form, but any report must be written in the form of a statutory declaration, otherwise the court may not accept it.