Friday, July 15, 2005

Are You Mad?

Many of the Defendants in the criminal justice system have problems, such as mental health issues, or even just a fairly low IQ. Because Defendants come from different backgrounds a Client is usually unique, and part of the joy of my job is meeting these different characters.

Recently an appointment was made for me to see a chap about a harassment case. When the appointment was booked it was booked in the belief that the man was being prosecuted and that he wanted representation in the Magistrates Court. The chap attended at my office clutching a great wad of papers and proceeded to tell me that he had not even been arrested for harassment.

The chap’s account was very simple and amounted to little more than being warned by the Police not to contact someone who had complained about him. The chap was screaming blue murder and demanding to know how he could firstly, sue the Police for making such a rash decision on his case, and secondly, make contact with the complainant without being arrested! I tried to explain to the chap that he did not have a criminal conviction, and that if he harassed the person on two or more occasions he would be liable to arrest and prosecution.

The chap then said he was adamant that he wanted action taken against the Police so I decided to refer him to another firm who deal with actions against the Police. Although I am no expert I formed the opinion that this chap suffered with some kind of mental health problem, and most probably a personality disorder. The chap thought that where he had not spoken to the complainant for several months they might still think that he was in a relationship with them!

If you are wondering why I have referred to this person as a ‘chap’ it is because he was neither a Defendant as he was not being prosecuted for an offence and neither was he a Client as I did not take his case on.

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