The role of psychologists in the South Australian fitness to stand trial process

van der Wijngaart, Samantha, Hawkins, Russell, and Golus, Peter (2015) The role of psychologists in the South Australian fitness to stand trial process. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 22 (1). pp. 75-93.

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In South Australia, fitness to stand trial requirements are embodied in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935, Part 8A, Division 3, which follows the R v. Presser findings. Specialist reports and opinion are an integral part of determination of a defendant's fitness for trial. In undertaking this review, publically available case law was scrutinized to provide insight into the practices of South Australian psychologists involved in the determination of mental fitness for trial processes. The AustLII database was used to identify relevant cases. Thirty-three cases were identified for inclusion. Cases were analysed for themes relevant to forensic psychology, including the methods and processes used to make recommendations to the court. Findings suggested that often the judges accepted the professional fitness opinions provided to them without question; however, judges occasionally provided important and pointed guidance to the professionals when the information provided did not meet the court's needs.

Item ID: 33909
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1934-1687
Keywords: competency to stand trial, fitness to plead, fitness to stand trial, forensic psychology, South Australia
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2014 23:57
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170104 Forensic Psychology @ 70%
18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 70%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940403 Criminal Justice @ 30%
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