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START OF Diversion and referral options
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Queensland Court Referral (QCR) is a bail-based referral service that assists people who have been charged with a criminal offence to access services that can help them with issues they may be facing such as drug and/or alcohol dependency, mental illness, intellectual disability, cognitive impairment, and homelessness or risk of homelessness. It operates in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
The purpose of the program is to:
To be eligible, you must be on bail or be eligible for bail for an offence to be dealt with in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and have one or more of the following issues:
You do not need to be pleading guilty to all your charges to be eligible.
You may request to be assessed for the program yourself or you may be referred by someone else, your legal representation or a government or non-government agency or support service. You will need to give consent for your criminal records and histories to be provided to agencies for a suitability assessment.
You should talk to a lawyer about participating in the program.
If it appears you may be eligible for the program, you will be interviewed by the QCR Facilitator, who will complete a Screening and Referral Form (SRF). A copy of the form will then be provided to the prosecution, yourself and your legal representation.
The magistrate will consider the SRF and any other relevant matters or submissions and make a decision. If the magistrate decides you may be suitable, the matter will be adjourned for 2-3 weeks. This is to allow time for the referral to be assessed by the Case Assessment Group (CAG).
The Case Assessment Group (CAG) will determine whether it is appropriate to refer you to a service and what service you should be referred to. In making their decision, they will consider:
When the adjournment is over and you go back to court, the QCR Facilitator will make recommendations to the magistrate about whether or not you are suitable to be referred into the program. If the magistrate agrees to refer you, they will adjourn the matter for up to 3 months so that you can access the recommended support services or treatment.
The magistrate may adjourn the matter for a shorter period so the court can receive a progress report. The total amount of time the matter will be adjourned for from the date you are referred into the program by the magistrate must not be more than 3 months.
The agencies who are involved in Queensland Court Referral are:
When you go back to court, a report from the service provider will be given to the court. The magistrate may ask you about your involvement with the process and any service provider you are referred to.
If you engage with the process, the magistrate may take this into account when sentencing you.
You should get legal advice.
If the magistrate has ordered that you participate with the QCR process as a condition of your bail and you breach these conditions, then you may be charged with a further criminal offence of breach of bail.
It may be a breach of the conditions, if you:
If you no longer wish to participate in the program you should get legal advice.
You may need legal advice if:
Legal Aid Queensland may provide advice on most areas of Queensland criminal law.
The following services may also be able to provide you with legal advice and assistance.
Community legal centres provide free legal advice and information on criminal law. Check with them to see if they can help with your matter.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation on criminal law matters.
Interstate Legal Aid Commissions can provide information and advice on criminal charges or court appearances outside of Queensland.
The following organisations may also be able to help you. They do not give legal advice.
Queensland courts provide information for people going to court (defendants and witnesses) and general information about the different types of courts in Queensland, eg magistrates, district, Supreme, Mental Health Court, Childrens court, Coroners court, and more.