The impetus to abolish Governor's pleasure detention for persons found not guilty by reason of mental impairment/insanity or unfit to stand trial led to important law reform throughout Australia and in many other countries so that decision-making about complete or partial release of such persons from detention is at least to some extent removed from the Executive. However, a small category of persons continues to languish at the Governor's pleasure by reason of having been sentenced to indefinite detention. This paper reviews one such case, Yates v The Queen  HCA 8, in which an appeal against such status was successfully brought to the High Court 26 years after indefinite detention at the Governor's pleasure was imposed in Western Australia. It argues that the case highlights the need for such persons to be made subject to a formal and continuing mechanism of review.
- indefinite detention
- mental impairment