Phil has a diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia, often experiencing psychosis as a result. Phil was charged with aggravated home burglary, threatening to kill and assault of a public officer. Phil was facing serious charges and the likelihood of a significant term of imprisonment was high. Phil was referred to Ruah Legal Services by the mental health support team at the prison where he was being held on remand.
At first, the lawyer experienced great difficulty in trying to speak with Phil and obtain legal instructions from him, as his mental health was very poor at the time, and he was refusing his medication. The lawyer spoke with the treating team at the prison about other options to assist Phil, and arrangements were made for him to be transferred to a secure hospital ward for treatment to assist in stabilising his mental health. The lawyer adjourned Phil’s matters to provide time for Phil’s mental health to stabilise, and engaged his team’s Key Worker to provide further supports.
The Key Worker accompanied the lawyer to discuss the community supports available alongside the legal representation. Whilst Phil was in hospital the lawyer took the opportunity to make a bail application for Phil. Thanks to the advocacy of the lawyer, Phil was granted bail to a civil mental health hospital which enabled him to continue receiving mental health treatment. The Key Worker assisted in finding Phil appropriate accommodation for when his mental health had stabilised enough to be discharged from hospital.