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My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
What is Automatism?
Where a person who has been charged with a criminal offence suggests that they committed the physical acts involuntarily, they are raising the defence of automatism. The defence of automatism is based on a very basic principle of criminal law: that a person cannot be found guilty of an act which occurred without the exercise of their will. This is not so much a ‘defence’ as a claim by the defence that the prosecution cannot prove one of the elements of the offence charged; that the accused acted voluntarily. If the offence does not require the accused to have acted voluntarily, then automatism generally cannot be argued.
What is automatism?
Automatism is a legal term used to describe a situation where acts occurred without the volition of the accused. The determining factor is whether the accused exercised their will rather than a lack of consciousness or knowledge on the part of the accused.
For example, where a person is conscious of what is happening but is unable to control their actions, and is essentially disassociated from them, they may be acting involuntarily and as an ‘automaton’. Automatism may be established if there was no deliberation in the behaviour, and the accused acted automatically. However, it is not about not understanding that one’s actions were ‘wrong’. Not being aware that something was wrong, and going ahead and doing it deliberately, is not ‘automatism’.
What are the types of automatism?
There are two types of automatism.
The first type of automatism is ‘insane automatism’. This exists when the cause is a ‘disease of the mind’. This phrase has been determined by courts to be the same as ‘mental impairment’. However, this is not just any mental impairment, like being impaired by anger or some other overwhelming emotion. It means that the person’s ability to understand and be cognisant of the situation is in disarray, and this is the result of the unsound mind’s reactions to its own delusions or to external events and situations. A person in a state of insane automatism cannot be found guilty of an offence.
The second type of automatism is ‘sane automatism’. This is very rare as few occurrences or conditions amount to automatism but fall outside of the category of ‘diseases of the mind’. An example is an act done while a person is sleepwalking.
Burden of proof
Which party bears the burden of proof when automatism is raised depends on whether the defence is arguing sane or insane automatism.
Where the defence raises sane automatism the onus of proof rests on the prosecution, which must establish that the accused acted voluntarily beyond a reasonable doubt. Should it fail to do this, the accused must be acquitted.
Insane automatism only requires that the defence show that on the balance of probabilities the defence of mental impairment is made out. If this can be shown, then the verdict must be not guilty by reason of mental impairment.
There are instances where both types of automatism may arise and determining a verdict in such a case can be complex. An acquittal is not the same as a finding of not guilty by reason of mental impairment.
What is a ‘disease of the mind’?
Various cases have raised the question of what conditions amount to a ‘disease of the mind’. These include schizophrenia, brain injuries and physical conditions of the brain. Hyperglycaemia has been found to be a disease of the mind, as have some physical diseases such as brain tumours.
There are some conditions which may or may not be found to amount to a disease of the mind, depending on the circumstances of the individual case. In some circumstances, it has been found to be possible to act voluntarily while in a dissociative state.
Amnesia is not proof of automatism. A person having amnesia does not mean they acted automatically, and the absence of amnesia is not necessarily an indication that the person did not act automatically. Whether automatism is found to have existed depends on what the accused’s state of mind was at the time, regardless of whether they have a recollection of their behaviour afterwards.
What about ‘intoxication’?
In some circumstances, acting involuntarily due to a high consumption of alcohol or drugs may amount to automatism. However, an accused’s intoxication also raises other issues that are considered separately by the courts from this issue.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
Entrapment occurs when police or law enforcement agents improperly induce a person to commit actions that amount to a criminal…
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