Lily 27, recently had her four young children taken into care by the Department of Health and Human Services. She had limited family support and struggled with a number of mental health issues. Lily has experienced family violence from the fathers of her children and was vulnerable to alcohol addiction when self- medicating.
Lily had been charged with a number of driving offences and breach of a Community Corrections Order. Lily instructed that she wanted to plead guilty to the charges. As she had prior offences and was facing the possibility of being sent to prison she was eligible for a grant of legal aid to pay for a barrister to represent her and for the completion of a psychological report. One of our generalist lawyers completed the application for legal aid and put together the brief to counsel.
The barrister appeared for Lily at court and argued that Lily’s offending was influenced by her mental health and substance abuse, which arose from her own very traumatic childhood. The Magistrate took into account Lily’s circumstances as presented by counsel and whilst satisfied that Lily was guilty, felt that a different approach was needed to prevent further contravention of orders. This included cancelling her drivers’ licence for six months, cancelling her previous community correction order and placing her on a treatment and support plan. Fines were imposed and she was given two years to pay.
Lily was not only able to avoid jail but could now access a treatment and support plan that would address many of the underlying health and addiction issues she faces. Without support to manage these significant factors it is unlikely Lily would be able to break the cycle of recidivism and take the steps necessary to regain custody of her children.