Man temporarily refused entry to Central Mental Hospital will now remain there indefinitely

Accused unable to stand trial due to mental illness, court told

The judge committed the accused to the Central Mental Hospital (above) until further order and adjourned proceedings indefinitely. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The judge committed the accused to the Central Mental Hospital (above) until further order and adjourned proceedings indefinitely. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

A man who was temporarily refused entry to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) in Dublin due to lack of space will now remain at the facility indefinitely.

The 38-year-old Meath man, who faces several charges before Trim Circuit Court, was confirmed to be suffering from acute paranoid schizophrenia by a forensic psychiatrist at the hospital who assessed him last week.

Kevin Shaw (38) of Carnaross, Co Meath, is accused of producing a knife and engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour in Nobber, Co Meath, on January 14th, 2020. He has yet to enter a plea.

On Monday the court heard the accused is not fit to stand trial on these charges, leading to Judge Patrick Quinn adjourning the case indefinitely under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act until such time as the man is judged medically fit to face proceedings.

The accused was at the centre of a three-hour stand-off between gardaí and staff at the CMH earlier this month, which occurred after the judge made a court order that he should be admitted for assessment.

The CMH, a secure hospital in Dundrum, is the State’s only facility for severely mentally-ill people who have committed a crime or are awaiting trial.

Gardaí brought the accused to the the hospital on March 19th but were refused admission by staff due to overcapacity at the hospital.

The man remained cuffed in a Garda car for some three hours while gardaí negotiated with staff.

Eventually gardaí entered the facility to enforce the court order. The CMH then agreed to admit the accused.

Hospital management have since made a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman alleging the gardaí forced their way into the hospital and assaulted three staff in the process. It is understood this is strongly disputed by the Garda.

On Monday, in Trim Circuit Court, Prof Damian Mohan of the CMH gave evidence via video-link that the accused entered his care on March 19th and that he has met him on four occasions since. He said on his most recent visit, the accused was “very aggressive” and “markedly paranoid”, but less so than he was on admission.

Prof Mohan said the accused holds “persecutory beliefs regarding the criminal justice system” and believes he is being held hostage.

The patient believes the courts are run by “a paedophile ring” which are involved in a “conspiracy” against him. Prof Mohan said he is in “no doubt” that the accused suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is in an acute phase of psychosis.

The patient suffers from the mental disorder under the relevant legislation and requires treatment in the CMH, Prof Mohan said. He is not fit to plead to a charge, to instruct his lawyers or to understand the evidence before the court.

Counsel for the accused, Michael Lynn SC, told the court his client’s position is that he is not suffering from a disorder. Prof Mohan said he was confident of the diagnosis.

The professor said the man has started treatment and that he is hopeful of improvement.

“This is the first time he has had a sustained period of treatment. I’m hopeful he will make a response and we will be able to return the case to court for trial.”

The judge said there was only one order the court could make in the circumstances. He committed the accused to the CMH until further order and adjourned proceedings indefinitely.

The accused viewed the proceedings from the CMH via video-link but was muted by the judge following several interruptions.