Felicity's story – how Help Before Court made her life easier

Felicity's story – how Help Before Court made her life easier

Monday, 9 August 2021

Felicity was 19 years old when she was charged with assault (note – client's name changed for privacy).  

Living with severe anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, she found the prospect of having to go to court overwhelming. 

Her carer contacted us and through Help Before Court (HB4C) and was able to spend time discussing her case with Senior Lawyer, Steph Thirlwall. 

‘I was very upset that I would even have to attend court and was shocked to receive a summons,’ Felicity said. 

‘My mental health is not good … I was scared the outcome would be beyond my control and ability to cope. 

‘I know lawyers are always in a rush on court days representing lots of people at once. 

‘(But HB4C) meant I was able to spend enough time talking with my carer and the lawyer. 

‘My carer has found it hard at times to get people to understand that I have these difficulties and I cannot explain it properly. 

‘The HB4C process helped him to help me. 

‘My carer did not have to take me to court, and he had more time to get all the reports and paperwork together for me for Steph at Legal Aid to represent me.’ 

Steph was able to negotiate a diversion program and as a result, Felicity did not have to appear at court. 

‘If we had been at court and I was assisting Felicity through the duty list process, I wouldn’t have had the luxury of time,’ Steph said. 

‘The HB4C process gave me the time to speak with Felicity, obtain instructions and organise for support letters and medical materials in a relatively relaxed way without the rush and hustle and bustle of a busy court day.’ 

HB4C has been delivering positive results for our clients and lawyers since it was introduced in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Even as we return to an at-court service, we’ll continue to benefit from HB4C as a means of resolving matters early. 

Felicity has since complied with all aspects of her diversion order and does not have a record. 

More information

Read more about our Help Before Court service.

Read how Help Before Court is an opportunity to rethink summary crime hearings.

Other ways you can get help

You can also get legal help over the phone but there may be a wait time.


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