Health Service Executive -v- AM & anor (Care Order - Mental Illness)

Case OutcomeApproved
CourtDistrict Court
Docket NumberN/A
JudgeHorgan P.
Judgment Date23 Apr 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] IEDC 10
[2013] IEDC 10
23 April 2013
This is an application by the HSE for a Care Order under sect ion 18 of the Child Care Ac t, 1991 in respect of t he Child who is now
aged 10 years.
1. The HSE have s ought a Care Order on the basis t hat the Child’s health, development, or welfare has been or is likely to be
avoidably impaired or neglected due t o the mother’s mental health issues, the mother and father’s lack of c ontac t with the Child, their
lack of engagement with t he services, their inability to prioritise the Child’s needs and lack of insight into t hose needs, and t he
mother’s failure to f ollow advice and guidance f rom relevant professionals. Deriving from those c oncerns, the HSE asked the Court to
make ce rtain findings of fact as against the mother and as against t he father of the Child. The findings on fact deriving from an
alleged failure to adequately address mental issues that negatively impacted on the Child included allegations of physical abuse,
emotional neglect and lack of contac t with the Child.
2. The mother and fat her are divorced and the father’s habitual residence is in anot her jurisdiction. T he mother’s habitual residence is
in this jurisdict ion and I am satisfied that t he Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine this application. The mother is represented
in the proceedings by her solicit or and counsel. She w as also assiste d to meaningfully engage in the proceedings with t he help of an
advocat e.
3. The f ather resides outside of the jurisdiction. At all stages of these proc eedings pursuant to Order 11 Rule 3 of the District Court
Rules, he was properly served with notic e of t he proceedings outside t he jurisdiction. By email of 9 November 2012, he communicated
with the s olicitors for the HSE ac knowledging receipt of t he data se nt requesting fut ure correspondence t o be sent by email. He did
not participat e in the proc eedings at any s tage. T he Court was informed that the fa ther cont acted the HSE solicitors a gain to request
the c ase be adjourned until June when he hoped t o have t he opportunity to participate in the proceedings. T he adjournment
application was refused by the Court on the basis t hat t he cas e had been listed f or full hearing for some considerable time and delay
would not serve t he best interests of the Child.
4. Counsel for the mother helpfully set out a Stat ement of Opposition and the fact s accept ed and cont ested on behalf of his c lient. In
a nutshell, it was acc epted that t he mother had a history of mental illness but that she was now taking medication to manage her
depression and prevent psyc hosis and she was now engaging well with her mental health psychiatrist and t eam. However, all other
findings of fact in so far as they related to any def icit on t he part of the mother were denied and disputed. T he mother indicates t hat
past non- compliance with medication was due partly t o her cultural understanding of mental illness as a shameful thing but largely due
to t he fac t t hat she experienced an adverse react ion to t he dosage and t ype of medication presc ribed, in particular the depot
injection. She also maintains that on at least two occ asions she was suffering from post partum depression and not psy chosis. She
maintains that she has bee n the vic tim of domestic violence and a traumatic break-up with t he father of her two y ounger children.
She was depressed. It is her cont ention that she is now fully c ompliant with her medication which a ppears to be s ufficiently c alibrated
to avoid adverse side effec ts. It is her intention to adhere to medical advice. It is her position that the HSE has not met the t hreshold
criteria of sec tion 18 of the Child Care Act, 1991.
The Background
5. The Child was born in Ireland in January 2003 and both of his parents are named on his birth certificat e. His fat her was not in t he
jurisdict ion at the date of his birth.
6. The mother came to Ireland when she was four months pregnant. She is of the Islamic faith. T he father does not appear t o have
ever feat ured as a real presence in the Child’s life in Ireland but he has spoken t o him over the telephone. T he father has a lso
maintained some level of cont act with t he HSE in relation to the Child.
7. The mother has a diagnosis of s chizophrenia and a history of eight a dmissions to psyc hiatric hospital (bot h voluntary and
involuntary) since 2008.
a. On 24 Oct ober 2008, she was initially admitted to a psy chiatric hospita l as a voluntary pat ient but subsequent ly
detained under the Ment al Health Act , her involuntary detention was then revoked and she st ayed as a voluntary
patient until her discharge on 25 November 2008.
b. Voluntary admission 27 May 2009; discharged 3 Sept ember 2009.
c. Voluntary a dmission 14 January 2011; discharged 19 or 20 January 2011.
d. Voluntary admission 22 March 211; discharged 28 Marc h 2011.
e. Voluntary admission 17 May 2011; discharged 25 May 2011.
f. Involuntary Admission 13 March 2011; discharged 29 March 2012.
g. Involuntary Admission 1 November 2012; discharged 20 November 2012.

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