Cairns children killings: What drove Raina Thaiday to slay eight kids?

Cairns children killings: What drove Raina Thaiday to slay eight kids?

Queensland Law Society president Christine Smyth said rulings of “unsound mind” were rare, because of the strict criteria to meet the unsound mind defence.

“Did they understand what it is that they were doing? Did they have the capacity to stop themselves from doing it, or did they suffer some kind of delusion? Effectively, did they have capacity, and that’s the key criteria,” Ms Smyth said.

In this case, the answer was a resounding no, according to the judge.

Even though the criminal case will be discontinued, Thaiday could spend the rest of her life in the state’s mental health institutions.

She is currently being kept at the Park Centre for mental health on Brisbane’s outskirts, and psychiatrists told the court she had been slow to respond to treatment and was at high risk of relapsing.

A court order means she will be kept in a secure ward at the facility, and only granted escorted leave on the property.

“Some people respond to treatment very well and can be released early, some people take a lot longer to respond to treatment, if at all,” Ms Smyth said.

“So it can be anywhere from a couple of years to a lifetime.”

Ms Smyth said it was understandable some would feel a lack of “justice” without a trial and a jail term, but the case had now moved to a phase where the focus was on Thaiday’s wellbeing.

“The measure of a society is how it best treats its most vulnerable — people with mental illness, they’re the most vulnerable,” she said.

Without a criminal trial, key details about this case may never be made public.

Namely, how exactly was Thaiday able to kill eight children without any fighting back or any being able to escape?

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