Sentencing Offenders with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): The Challenge of Effective Management: Churnside v The State of Western Australia [2016] WASCA 146 per Martin CJ and Mazza and Mitchell JJA

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The criminal justice system in Australia is increasingly being required to deal with offenders exhibiting the symptomatology of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Disproportionately they are indigenous. Diagnosis of the disorder is challenging and too frequently still not being made accurately. More challenging still is responding to it in the forensic system so that options for provision of suitable support are availed of, and thereby the risk of ongoing offending which puts the community at risk is minimised. This paper reviews the creative and compassionate judgment of the Western Australian Court of Appeal in Churnside v The State of Western Australia [2016] WASCA 146. It argues that the decision constitutes a model for the efforts that can and should be made by sentencing judges and magistrates required to deal with recidivist offenders with FASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-825
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology & Law
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Criminal culpability
  • criminal responsibility
  • foetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • intellectual disability
  • sentencing

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