Legal Aid Clinic appeals to persons with mentally ill relatives in prison to come forward
The Legal Aid Council (LAC) is urging persons with mentally ill relatives who are imprisoned to contact the organisation, which has provided legal representation for 107 mentally ill persons within the last year.
Executive director of the LAC, Hugh Faulkner, says it is unable to represent mentally ill prisoners without a family member coming forward to receive these individuals.
“We are urging persons who have family members who are mentally ill in custody and have not been going to court, to contact us once they are willing to undertake supervision and care of the person,” Faulkner said.
In January, the LAC provided representation to Leslie Spaulding, a mentally ill individual, who had been in custody for 23 years.
Spaulding’s case was resolved when his sister came forward and the LAC was able to make the requisite application to the court.
Faulkner stated that the LAC also provides its clients with expert services such as DNA testing, to aid their case.
“In two of the cases concerning the mentally ill, we paid private psychiatrists to do the evaluations for the courts so that the persons were not delayed in the system,” he shared.
Faulkner said justice should be accessible to all members of society, irrespective of their socio-economic background or mental health.