Legal Aid Council pledges to help more mentally ill people facing the courts

The Legal Aid Council (LAC) has said it will be focusing on helping more mentally ill persons facing the justice system this year. 
Hugh Faulkner, Executive Director of the Council, is reminding family members of detained mentally ill persons that they can contact the Council for legal advice.
Last year, in an interview with the Gleaner, Mr. Faulkner said that an audit of the correctional facilities across the island revealed that up to January 2018, there were 313 mentally ill people incarcerated. 
He also pointed to the case of Leslie Spalding, a mentally ill man who was released last year after 23 years in prison.
Mr. Spaulding was arrested in 1995 for assault occasioning bodily harm but was never convicted or sentenced.
There was a similar case in 2015 involving Delroy McIntosh, who remained in prison for 25 years after being arrested for possession of a ganja spliff.
Duty counsel 
Meanwhile, Mr. Faulkner said the LAC provided duty counsel to 3,331 people for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
He added that for the 2018/2019 period, a total of 3,648 cases were completed by the Council.
Mr. Faulkner said, for this year, the Council intends to increase its Parish Court output by 20 per cent. 
The council, which operates under the Ministry of Justice, provides free legal representation for detainees at identification parades, question-and-answer sessions by the police, lockup visits and bail applications. 

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