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Free_one27 View Drop Down
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Joined: 04/February/2012
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  Quote Free_one27 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What is a free man?
    Posted: 04/February/2012 at 21:47
Is it legal for someone to not be charged with a crime but to be detained against their will under the mental health act without direct access to a lawyer?

Can somebody help me understand the mental health act?

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/February/2012 at 22:58
People are only detained under the mental health act when a police office believes that may be mentally impaired and may possibly harm themselves or others.

They are only detained in this way until they can be assessed by a medical practitioner to determine if in fact there is a risk. After this they could be committed to a mental health facility. Or if found to be not mentally ill, they could be arrested if a crime has been committed, at which point they will have access to a solicitor should they request one, or they could be released.
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AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/February/2012 at 23:46
Yes, my sister is regularly detained (in WA) under the mental health act as she is a danger to herself and occasionally others. During the period of involuntary confinement she does have access to a phone, and if capable, can arrange for legal representation. Normally though people in this situation are so far gone, they really are not capable of doing much in the way of defense.
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Ponala View Drop Down
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  Quote Ponala Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/February/2012 at 01:51
If arrested under the Mental Health Act then police are not required to, and they are not entitled to, legal reprensention/lawyer. Under the act police have to take them to be mentally assessed. They are not being investigated for a crime, they are being taken to a profesisional to be assessed for their mental stability.

So yes it is legal.

AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/February/2012 at 02:01
It's a curious situation though, in the case of violent (aggressive) mentally ill persons, the police do have to assist in getting them to the mental ward and so are actually "arresting" them, however without charges. What I am saying is that if you're in such a situation to be taken into a mental ward, you don't really get a choice about not going. In my sisters case they normally release her into someone's care as soon as she is stabilized. It may seem draconian, but talking to my wife who is from the US this level of care is quite high compared to letting these people roam the streets as happens over there.
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MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/February/2012 at 11:38
It is a difficult situation for all involved. My brother-in-law is a nurse who works in the secure mental ward. He regularly comes home from work after being assaulted by a new patient, who is yet to be stabilised.
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Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks.

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