What is a treatment order and/or a treatment order hearing?

A treatment order, which is made by a judge, requires an unfit accused to be made fit to stand trial through psychiatric treatment. It is a unique circumstance where the accused does not have a choice in receiving treatment. Treatment orders almost always include a requirement for the accused to take some kind of medication. Usually this includes oral medications, but it can include medications given by injection. The accused can be restrained in order to receive the injections. This is why treatment orders are only made if the judge is satisfied based on the testimony of a psychiatrist, that:

  • The accused is unlikely to become fit without treatment; and
  • The treatment recommended is the least intrusive form of treatment possible; and
  • The risk of harm from the treatment does not outweigh its expected benefit; and
  • The treatment is expected to make the accused fit within 60 days.

Treatment orders are made after a treatment order hearing occurs. Often a treatment order hearing is combined with a fitness hearing. Similar to a fitness hearing, the judge will use the evidence presented and submissions made by the lawyers to decide whether to make a treatment order.