Multiple counts of arson in the Melbourne Magistrates Court following a summary jurisdiction application (to allow the case to be heard in the Magistrates Court as opposed to the County Court).
The client had a recent history of mental illness and alcoholism, stemming from severe bullying during employment with the armed forces. He was receiving treatment but after breaking up with his fiancee his condition worsened. Unwell, he embarked upon an arson spree causing almost $100,000 worth of damage to a residential building. Shortly after the incident he was admitted to a psychiatric ward.
During the time between the incident and his court appearance the client had taken steps to stabilise his mental health and get his life back on track. He had sought assistance from a network of health professionals and had engaged with them well. He had managed to stop drinking and had also commenced a relationship with a loving and supportive partner.
We submitted various material to the Magistrate indicating that the client had taken responsibility for his condition and was making significant efforts to rehabilitate himself. We argued that despite the serious nature of the offence, it was in both the client and the community’s interests that he serve his sentence in the community. His Honour agreed and the client was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order.