11 Aug 2022

Man challenges order keeping him detained as involuntary patient at psychiatric facility

Man challenges order keeping him detained as involuntary patient at psychiatric facility

A man with a mental health condition has brought a High Court challenge against a decision to extend his detention at a psychiatric facility.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, claims that proper reasons were not given by the Mental Health Tribunal why his detention was extended to July of this year.

The man who is aged in his late thirties, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has been an involuntary patient for the last two years on foot of orders made under the 2001 Mental Health Act.

He has a history of being a voluntary and involuntary patient, and the events that led to his most recent admission as an involuntary patient occurred when he went off his medication, became paranoid, and hallucinations hearing voices, as well as thoughts of burning down his home.

The court heard that the man has been stable and well since being admitted to the medical facility he is currently located. However, there are concerns about his discharged into the community.

Those orders have been renewed on a number of occasions since he was first admitted by a three-person Mental Health Tribunals, which are appointed by the Mental Health Commission.  

Following a hearing earlier this year, the Tribunal's members decided on a 2 to 1 majority to renew the orders that he be kept at the facility as an involuntary patient till next July.

The matter can be reviewed again in May, the court heard.

In High Court proceedings against the Tribunal the man claims that no proper reasons were given by the Tribunal for its decision.

Ciaran Craven SC for the man told the court that arising out of the hearing his client simply does not know what he requires to do in order to secure his release.

In his proceedings against the Mental Health Tribunal the man seeks various reliefs including an order quashing the tribunal's decision to extend his detention at the facility.

He also seeks declarations from the court including that the tribunal's failure to give reasons for its decision amounts to a breach of the man's rights to natural and Constitutional justice, and was unreasonable and irrational.

The Mental Health Commission is a notice party to the application.

The application came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan at Monday's sitting of the High Court.

The judge, on an ex-parte basis, directed that the application for leave to bring the challenge made in the presence of lawyers for the respondent.

The judge adjourned the case for a week.

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