A member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal responsible for the day release of patients from the Forensic Mental Health unit at Bloomfield says they will not issue an order for release unless satisfied the safety of the patient or any member of the public will not be seriously endangered.
"The tribunal must always ensure that this requirement is satisfied before granting any leave for a forensic patient," registrar of the tribunal, Rodney Brabin said.
"Once the tribunal approves leave for a particular patient, the exercise of that leave is at the discretion of the medical superintendent of the mental health facility," he said.
Mr Brabin said the tribunal was restricted from disclosing any information about individual cases under provisions of the Mental Health Act of 2007.
Mr Brabin was responding to the CWD's front page story on Wednesday citing instances in Orange where forensic mental health patients who had killed or committed other serious violent offences were on day release to study and work in the city.
Councillor Glenn Taylor has called on Orange City Council to arrange a meeting with Orange Health Service to allay community concerns.
Earlier in the week members of the tribunal were asked to respond to concerns in the community that people were working and training in Orange with patients without being given relevant information, including those who had killed family members or committed other serious crimes and been found not guilty on the grounds of mental illness.
One source said she had Googled the name of a person from the unit in her workplace and felt vulnerable when she discovered he had killed a family member.
"I am not casting aspersions in any way on someone with a mental illness as I have someone close to me with a mental illness, but this is different - this person hasn't broken a window, he's killed someone," she said.
Mr Brabin said under the Mental Health (Forensic provisions) Act of 1990 the tribunal has a wide range of responsibilities, and can make orders in relation to the treatment, care, detention, leave and release of forensic patients.
"All forensic patients are reviewed regularly by the tribunal and these reviews usually take place every six months, but can be more frequent when the tribunal considers it appropriate."