Indefinite Detention in Australia: The Ongoing Risk of Governor's Pleasure Detention: Yates v The Queen [2013] HCA 8 French CJ, Hayne, Crennan, Bell and Gageler JJ

Ian Freckelton QC

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    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 [2013] 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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)469-474
    Number of pages6
    JournalPsychiatry, Psychology & Law
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2014


    • indefinite detention
    • insanity
    • mental impairment
    • sentencing

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