Criminal Psycho-Legal Assessments & Reports

 
Bail Assessment

 

Purpose

A bail agreement is an undertaking to the Crown to attend all court proceedings and to comply with all conditions. A psychological assessment may be sought by the defendant’s solicitor if the Court  is concerned for mental health reasons that the defendant may not comply with his or her bail conditions. That is , what is the defendant’s risk of breaching the bail conditions?  

 

Relevant Legislation

Applications for bail in all courts are governed by the Bail Act 1985 (SA) which applies to South Australian and Commonwealth offences.  BAIL ACT 1985 - SECT 4  

 

Case Example 

Mr X was applying for Home Detention bail, and was currently in prison and facing charges of ‘Resist Arrest’, ‘Assault Police’ & ‘Threaten to Kill’. He had supportive parents who were offering him accommodation and it was asked that the independent psychological assessment determine whether his mental health was likely to make him an unreasonable risk to breaching his conditions , or an unreasonable danger to the safety of others ?

 

Costs

Assessment (2-4 hours) & Report preparation

Private Rate (Standard) :  $1300 + GST  PLEASE NOTE ALL FEES MAY BE NEGOTIATED DUE TO HARDSHIP ISSUES

Private Rate (Complex) :  $1500 + GST

Legal Aid Rate (2017)  : $985 + GST

Return to Top

 
Fitness Assessment
Purpose

The defendant's solicitor may have concerns that for mental health reasons (e.g. intellectual difficulty or mental illness) the defendant cannot understand the charge brought against thim or her; cannot understand the general nature of court proceedings; cannot understand the nature and effect of the evidence brought by prosecution; or wis unable to instruct counsel as to his or her evidence.

The solicitor may then seek an independent assessment from a forensic mental health expert to evaluate this issue before any trial proceeds. 

 

Relevant Legislation

CRIMINAL LAW CONSOLIDATION ACT 1935 - SECT 269H

269H—Mental unfitness to stand trial

 

Case Example 

The defendant was an Aboriginal male who had a history of significant head injuries and dysfunctional family background. He was charged with ‘Attempted Rape’. The facts of the case were not in dispute. The defence questioned the defendant’s ‘fitness’ in relation to his ability to understand the charge (§269H) where the concepts of ‘consent’,‘attempted’ & ‘intent’ were all requiring a higher order processing capacity.

The independent psychological assessment determined that that the defendant had a significant intellectual disability and severely impaired frontal lobe functioning. The testing revealed he had very limited capacity to utilize abstract concepts. On 1 June 2000 the Judge found that “the accused was mentally unfit to stand trial upon a charge of attempted rape as he does not meet the minimum standards required before he can be tried without unfairness or injustice”

Click here to read case 2A  ('Understanding the nature of the charges' in  "Writing Reports for Court" (2007) pp53-55.

 

Reference : R v Miller [no.1][2000] Sasc 147 [2000] SASC 462 (2 June 2000)

 

Costs

 

Assessment (2-4 hours) & Report preparation

Private Rate :  $1500 + GST (complex matter) PLEASE NOTE ALL FEES MAY BE NEGOTIATED DUE TO HARDSHIP ISSUES

Legal Aid Rate (2017)  : $985 + GST

Return to Top

 
Presentence Psychological Assessment

 

Purpose

The solicitor representing the defendant who pleads ‘guilty’ or is found ‘guilty’ in trial may obtain a psychological report as part of a presentence investigation, to examine whether there are  aggravating or mitigating factors related to the offending.

The standard format for presentencing psychological evaluations would include

  • a review of all pertinent discovery materials, especially the presentence report and other psychological reports completed on the defendant.

  •  the defendant's psychosocial history, including any family history, education history, vocational history, health & mental health history, substance use history, and past offending history

  • Psychological testing to evaluate the presence of mental health disorders or personality characteristics that may have mediated irrational decision making or interfered with judgment or perception.

  • A comprehensive psychological report would then outline the relevant findings for the court.

 

Relevant Legislation

CRIMINAL LAW (SENTENCING) ACT 1988 - SECT 10

 

Case Example 

Read case 4A 'A young drug offender'   from "Writing Reports for Court" (2007) pp72-74.

 

Costs

Assessment (2-4 hours) & Report preparation

Private Rate (Standard) :  $1300 + GST

Private Rate (Complex) :  $1500 + GST PLEASE NOTE ALL FEES MAY BE NEGOTIATED DUE TO HARDSHIP ISSUES

Legal Aid Rate (2017)  : $985 + GST

 

Return to Top

 
Competency Assessment

 

Purpose

A defendant may have been mentally incompetent to commit the offence as charged as a result of mental impairment. There is a presumption at law that a defendant is mentally competent to commit the offence charged, and if the defence seeks to rebut that presumption, the onus of proof is on the defence, on the balance of probabilities 

The relevant time is the time of the commission of the offence. If the defendant is charged with an offence that occurred some time ago, at which time they were mentally impaired but have since undergone treatment, they may present quite lucidly to the solicitor, but may nonetheless be able to pursue a defence of mental incompetence.

 

Relevant Legislation

CRIMINAL LAW CONSOLIDATION ACT 1935 - SECT 269C

269C—Mental competence 

 

Case Example 

Read case 3A - 'A suicidal robber' in "Writing Reports for Court" (2007) pp60-62.

 

Reference :Reference: R v Bini [2000] SADC 137

 

Costs

Assessment (2-4 hours) & Report preparation

Private Rate (Standard) :  $1300 + GST

Private Rate (Complex) :  $1500 + GST PLEASE NOTE ALL FEES MAY BE NEGOTIATED DUE TO HARDSHIP ISSUES

Legal Aid Rate (2017)  : $985 + GST

Return to Top

 
Recidivism Risk Assessment

 

Purpose

South Australian law permits a court to declare a person to be a serious repeat offender if the person has been convicted of three serious offences (committed on at least three separate occasions). When a person is declared to be a serious repeat offender, the court is not bound to ensure that the sentence is proportional to the offence and any non-parole period fixed for the sentence must be at least four-fifths the length of the sentence.In 2005, the scheme was amended by the Statutes Amendment (Sentencing of Sex Offenders) Act 2005 (SA) to extend to sexual offences to enable a court to declare an offender a serious repeat offender if convicted of two child sex offences (rather than three)..

 

Relevant Legislation

CRIMINAL LAW (SENTENCING) ACT 1988  [s20B (a1) Serious repeat offender

CRIMINAL LAW (SENTENCING) ACT 1988  [s 23 Predatory sex offender]

 

Case Example 

Read about ‘Risk Assessment’ in “Writing Reports for Court” (2015) pp29-31.

 

Costs

Assessment (2-4 hours) & Report preparation

Private Rate (Standard) :  $1300 + GST

Private Rate (Complex) :  $1500 + GST PLEASE NOTE ALL FEES MAY BE NEGOTIATED DUE TO HARDSHIP ISSUES

Legal Aid Rate (2017)  : $985 + GST

 

Return to Top

 

​© 2015 by White & Associates Psychologists.

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now