For Patrick, a seven-month stint in prison looked preferable to life on the street or the wet and mouldy tent he left as he came into contact with the justice system. That was the point when he contacted the Mental Health Law Centre.
The 47-year-old had a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and a 13-year history of contact with mental health services.
He had been managing his health with regular medication and living with his family before the accommodation he shared with his mother became unavailable and he found himself living in a tent at a caravan park.
At the same time, a change in medication saw his mental health degenerate and a commotion resulted in Patrick being taken to hospital for mental health assessment. It was there he pushed over a vending machine in frustration and was arrested and taken to Hakea Prison on remand awaiting a court trial.
With no legal representation, Patrick entered a plea of not guilty and told the Court he did not want bail as he had nowhere to live. His trial was listed some seven months later and he intended on staying in prison for that entire period – until the MHLC stepped in.