R.A. -v- The Governor of Cork Prison, [2016] IEHC 504 (2016)

Docket Number:2016 887 SS
Party Name:R.A., The Governor of Cork Prison
 
FREE EXCERPT

THE HIGH COURT[2016 No. 887 SS]IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION FOR AN INQUIRY PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 40 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND 1937

BETWEEN

R. A.APPLICANTAND

THE GOVERNOR OF CORK PRISONRESPONDENT

JUDGMENT of Ms. Justice Costello delivered on 18th day of August, 2016

  1. The applicant is currently detained in Cork Prison pursuant to an order of District Judge Ní Chondúin of 5th August, 2016, whereby the learned judge refused the applicant bail.

  2. The applicant appeared before the District Court on 13th March, 2016, in respect of a charge of theft contrary to s. 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, in relation to the alleged theft of a video camera valued at €1,500.00. On that occasion, he was granted bail and required to return before the District Court on 23rd March, 2016. He did not attend. A warrant issued in respect of the applicant’s failure to attend Cork District Court on that date.

  3. The applicant was apprehended in Dublin on 14th July, 2016, and on 15th July, 2016, he was brought to Blanchardstown District Court on foot of the extant warrant. No application for bail was made on that occasion. He was remanded in custody to appear before Cork District Court on 20th July, 2016. In addition, the applicant was charged with a further charge of failing to appear on 23rd March, 2016, pursuant to s. 13(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1984, as amended.

  4. On 20th July, 2016, the applicant was not produced in court by the Irish Prison Services and the court was informed that he was unable to come to court due to psychiatric illness. The case was remanded to Cork District Court to 28th July, 2016.

  5. On 28th July, 2016, the applicant was produced in court. A medical report of Dr. Toal, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital, dated 26th July, 2016, was presented to the Court. Paragraph 10.4 of the report reads as follows:-

    “[The applicant] is currently acutely psychotic and in need of psychiatric admission to facilitate appropriate treatment to prevent further deterioration in his presentation. [The applicant] has been placed on the waiting list for admission to the Central Mental Hospital under section 15 of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006.

    I am advised there is no admission bed currently available at the Central Mental Hospital. In the interim he will continue to be reviewed on a regular basis by the prison in reach psychiatric team at the receiving prison. He is currently placed on D2 wing, a wing for vulnerable prisoners. He has not been compliant with his prescribed antipsychotic medication over the past week.…

    [The applicant] is currently acutely psychotic and in need of psychiatric admission to facilitate appropriate treatment to prevent further deterioration in his presentation. In the event that [the applicant] were to be granted bail or other non-custodial disposal, he has been referred for admission to Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

    His treating team in Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown Hospital have advised (26th July 2016.) that they are prepared to admit him as soon as an admission bed is available for him.

    It would be helpful from a psychiatric perspective were any conditions attached to bail or other non-custodial disposal to include that he:

  6. Agree to be transported from Cloverhill Prison to the Department of Psychiatry Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, by Irish Prison Service staff and members of the Court Liaison Service or the HSE assisted admission team at such time as an admission bed becomes available.

  7. Remain there until medically discharged (i.e. not abscond from hospital).”

  8. The applicant’s solicitor, Mr. Edmund Burke, swore the affidavit grounding the application pursuant to Article 40 on behalf of the applicant. He did not give any details of the application for bail made on behalf of the applicant on 28th July, 2016. At para. 12 of his affidavit, he stated that:-

    “…the judge indicated that he was not willing to grant bail to the Applicant as it was a matter for the prison as to whether or not they wished to send the Applicant to hospital or not.”

  9. In the event, District Judge Malone remanded the applicant in custody to 10th August, 2016.

  10. At a date not identified by Mr. Burke, he spoke with Dr. O’Neill, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital, concerning the applicant. Mr. Burke stated that he was informed that there was now a bed available for the applicant in James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin and that Dr. O’Neill recommended that the applicant take up this bed in order to receive treatment. Dr. O’Neill wrote a letter dated 4th August, 2016 to Mr. Burke stating:-

    “Further to my recent psychiatric report prepared for Cork District Court, I am writing at your request to confirm that [the applicant] remains unwell and in need of psychiatric admission. If bailed, I have contacted the Department of Psychiatry in James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, who advise that they will reserve an admission bed for [the applicant] should he be granted bail on 5th August, 2016. The admission would be under the Mental Health Act 2001.

    In the event that the bed reserved were not to be available until later in the day, it would be helpful were conditions attached to bail or other non-custodial disposal to include that [the applicant] agree to be transported by prison staff or Gardaí to the Department of Psychiatry in James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, at such a time as a bed becomes available.”

  11. Mr. Burke sought to have the matter relisted before the District Court and it was relisted on 3rd August, 2016. He said that he outlined the background to...

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