Patient brings challenge over detention at mental hospital

Tue, Apr 3, 2012, 01:00

AN INTELLECTUALLY disabled man has brought a High Court challenge arising out of his continued detention at the Central Mental Hospital.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been at the hospital in Dundrum, Dublin, since January 2009 after he was found unfit to stand trial on three counts of alleged sexual assault.

Lawyers acting for the man claimed before the High Court that as he does not require medical treatment he should not be detained at the hospital, a high-security facility for mentally ill patients. In proceedings against the HSE the lawyers argue the man has an intellectual disability and should be cared for at more suitable accommodation.

The HSE, it is also argued, has failed to advance any reason why he should continue to be detained at the hospital rather than somewhere appropriate.

The man, who is in his 30s but has the intellectual capacity of a six-year-old, is incapable of independent living and requires permanent care. In his High Court action he is seeking an order quashing the January decision of the Mental Health Review Board, the independent body whose function is to review the detention of patients at the Central Mental Hospital, ordering that he remain detained at the facility. He is also seeking a declaration that his detention is unlawful.

John Rogers SC, for the man, told the High Court his continued detention was in breach of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In an affidavit, the man’s solicitor, James Jones, said both the man and his family were unhappy about his detention and wanted him moved.

Mr Justice Michael Peart granted permission to bring the challenge on an ex-parte (one side only) basis.