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How Mental Health Issues Impact Criminal Sentencing Outcomes in Queensland

Mental health and criminal sentencing outcomes in Queensland - The Impacts

When an individual commits a crime under the crippling grip of a mental illness, will the Queensland courts consider this at the time of sentencing?

Mental Health and the Impact on Criminal Responsibility

When determining the appropriate sentence for someone who has committed a crime - mental health could be considered as a relevant factor.

For mental health to directly affect criminal responsibility, it would need to be proven that the accused did not understand the nature or quality of their actions and were unable to control their actions at the time of the offence.

Evidence such as medical records or confirmation from psychiatrists, psychologists and/or mental health professionals will be instrumental in proving this mental state.

Other considerations include the persons’ likelihood of committing a future crime, and the link between the mental illness and the crime itself (determining if the mental health condition contributed to the offence).

A Mitigating or Aggravating Factor?

It could be possible for the accused to be found not guilty by reason of insanity. In this case, a less severe sentence may be issued or avenues for mental health treatments may be enforced as an alternative.

Mental illness, however, is not always a mitigating factor when imposing a sentence.

In some cases, mental health can be an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing. This could result in a more severe sentence.

The Impact on Sentencing Outcomes

As it stands, criminal sentencing is already a highly involved process. Mental illness can bring another element of complexity entirely.

The sentencing outcome can differ drastically from case to case, depending on the nature of the crime and the correlation between the offence and the accused’s mental health issues.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime and struggles with mental illness, it is imperative to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal lawyer. Creevey Horrell Lawyers will provide expert defence – and ensure your or your loved ones’ mental health is taken into account during the sentencing process.

“Craig van der Hoven was simply AMAZING. No.1 in my book. I was very impressed with the service provided and would happily refer them to anyone.”

Contact Creevey Horrell Criminal Lawyers

Based in Brisbane, Roma, Toowoomba and Townsville.

Visit to contact us today.


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