Sep 10, 2009
Associate Professor Heather Douglas has been awarded funding by the TC Beirne School of Law for the following research project:
This research will explore the Queensland criminal justice system response to defendants who have FASD, particularly the issues of defending and sentencing defendants who have FASD. FASD is the umbrella term for a range of brain disorders that result from exposure to maternal alcohol consumption during gestation. Damage (or lack of development) is concentrated in the frontal lobe of the brain. This leads many who have FASD to lack the cognitive ability to link their actions to consequences, control impulses or remember things . The capacity to plead to offences may be an issue and sentencing is also a challenge for courts, as the principle of specific deterrence is rarely useful. As part of this project interviews will be undertaken with field officers, legal representatives and representatives of the Murri , Drug, Special Circumstances and Mental Health Court who have supported, represented, and dealt with defendants with FASD. The research aims to identify appropriate criminal justice practices in dealing with and responding to defendants who have FASD.