X (F) v Clinical Director of the Central Mental Hospital

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Noonan
Judgment Date25 March 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] IEHC 190
Docket Number[2015 No. 398 SS]
Date25 March 2015

[2015] IEHC 190

THE HIGH COURT

[No. 398 SS/2015]
X (F) v Clinical Director of the Central Mental Hospital
IN THE MATTER OF AN INQUIRY PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 40.4.2 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND, 1937

BETWEEN:

F. X.
APPLICANT

AND

THE CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL MENTAL HOSPITAL
RESPONDENT

AND

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
NOTICE PARTY

Criminal – Murder – Art. 40.4.2 of the Constitution of Ireland, 1937 – Insanity – S. 4 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997 – Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006.

Facts: Following the discharge of the applicant on the charges of murder under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act, 2006 but not under s.4 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997 for causing serious harm, the accused/applicant was detained in the Central Mental Hospital. The applicant in the proceedings sought a relief that as the original detention order was spent the further detention was unlawful. The matter came before the Court following a direction for an inquiry pursuant to Art. 40.4.2 of the Constitution of Ireland.

Mr. Justice Noonan held that the application challenging the applicant's detention would be dismissed. The Court held that the challenge would be unwarranted. The Court observed that the onus of proving the applicant's best interests would be on those representing the party suffering from a mental disability.

Preliminary
1

1. At the outset of these proceedings before me, on the 19 th of March, 2015, I made an order pursuant to s. 27 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008 prohibiting the publication or broadcast of any matter relating to the proceedings which would, or would be likely to, identify the applicant.

Introduction
2

2. This matter comes before the court on foot of the order of O'Malley J. made herein on the 13 th of March, 2015, whereby she directed an inquiry pursuant to Article 40.4.2 of the Constitution into the lawfulness of the applicant's detention at the Central Mental Hospital.

Background facts
3

3. On the 11 th of May, 2010, the applicant was a patient at Tallaght Hospital when he attacked another patient, Mr. James McGrane by stabbing him in the neck with a steak knife thereby severing his spinal cord at the level of T2 and paralysing him below that level. Mr. McGrane was not known to the applicant and was chosen at random.

4

4. The applicant was arrested and brought before Tallaght District Court on the 14 th of May, 2010, where he was charged pursuant to s. 4 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Mr. McGrane. Whilst he was initially remanded by the District Court to Cloverhill Prison, the prison doctor certified that the respondent was suffering from a mental disorder for which he could not get appropriate care in that prison and accordingly the Governor transferred him to the Central Mental Hospital pursuant to s. 15 of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 ("the 2006 Act").

5

5. On the 10 th of June, 2010, the District Court remanded the applicant to the Circuit Criminal Court for the purpose of a fitness assessment pursuant to s. 4 (4) of the 2006 Act.

6

6. Mr. McGrane died on the 11 th of January, 2011 and on the 14 th of October, 2011, the applicant was charged with murder and sent forward to the Central Criminal Court. On the 27 th of October, 2011, the prosecution entered a nolle prosequi in respect of the s. 4 charge in the Circuit Criminal Court. On the 4 th of November, 2011, the Mental Health (Criminal) Review Board ("the Review Board") reviewed the applicant's detention in the Central Mental Hospital and decided that his detention was appropriate.

7

7. On the 26 th of March, 2012, the matter came before the Central Criminal Court (Carney J.) who determined that the applicant was unfit to be tried and made an order pursuant to s. 4 (5) (c) of the 2006 Act adjourning the proceedings until further order. There was no dispute but that the applicant was unfit to be tried and the medical evidence in that regard was uncontroverted.

8

8. On the 30 th of April, 2012, the Director of Public Prosecutions ("the DPP") served the Book of Evidence on the applicant and notified him in writing that the indictment once lodged by the prosecution would contain two counts, the offence of murder and a separate offence contrary to s. 4 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

9

9. On the 21 st of June, 2012, the applicant applied to the High Court (Hogan J.) for an inquiry under Article 40.4.2 of the Constitution. The basis for this application arose out of an earlier judgment delivered by Hogan J. on the 5 th of April, 2012, in EC v. The Clinical Director of the Central Menial Hospital [2012] IEHC 152. Hogan J. delivered judgment on the 3 rd of July, 2012, holding that the applicant's detention was not in accordance with law and ultimately directing that he be released on the 10 th of July, 2012. The purpose of the delay was to enable the relevant authorities to regularise the applicant's detention in the meantime.

10

10. Accordingly, the DPP applied to the Central Criminal Court (Sheehan J.) on the 9 th of July, 2012, for an order pursuant to s. 4 (6) (a) of the 2006 Act committing the applicant to the Central Mental Hospital. That order was made and the matter adjourned to the 16 th of July, 2012, when it again came before the Central Criminal Court (Carney J.).

11

11. On the latter occasion, the court made an order pursuant to s. 4 (5) (c) (i) of the 2006 Act committing the applicant to the Central Mental Hospital subject to periodic review by the Review Board pursuant to the Act. Again, the order was made on foot of uncontroverted medical evidence. The order of Carney J. stated as follows:

"THE MATTER coming on for trial of the issue of fitness to be tried pursuant to s. 4 (5) of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 (as amended by s. 4 of the Criminal Law Insanity Act, 2010)"

AND having heard the evidence adduced and the submissions made on behalf of the respective parties and having heard the evidence of an approved medical officer namely Dr. Damien Mohan

THE COURT DOTH FIND, pursuant to s. 4 (5) (c) (i) of the Criminal Law Insanity Act, 2006 that the accused herein is unfit to be tried and is suffering from a mental disorder (within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 2001) and

THE COURT DOTH FIND, having heard the evidence of an approved medical officer, that the accused FX is in need of inpatient care or treatment in a designated centre and

THE COURT DOTH ORDER, pursuant to s. 4 (5) (c) (i) of the Criminal Law Insanity Act 2006 (as amended by s. 4 of the Criminal Law Insanity Act 2010) that the proceedings herein be and the same are hereby adjourned until further order and that the accused FX be and is hereby committed to the Central Mental Hospital, being a designated centre pursuant to the said Criminal Law (Insanity) Act, 2006 until an order is made under s. 13 of the said Criminal Law (Insanity) Act, 2006 (as amended by s. 7 of the Criminal Law Insanity Act, 2010)."

11

11. On the 30 th of July, 2012, an application was made on behalf of the applicant to the Central Criminal Court for a hearing pursuant to s. 4 (8) of the 2006 Act. The court determined that the 2006 Act required that the issue be tried by a judge alone and directed the prosecution to prepare a statement of charges and a book of evidence for service on the applicant.

12

12. On the 14 th of October, 2013, the prosecution lodged the indictment containing the two counts above referred to.

11

11. During the course of his detention in the Central Mental Hospital, the applicant was subject to regular review by the Review Board. The last such review took place on the 21 st of November, 2014. For that purpose, a psychiatric report dated the 12 th of November, 2014 was prepared by Dr. Damien Mohan, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, following assessment of the applicant. Dr. Mohan found that the applicant's diagnosis is that of treatment resistant paranoid schizophrenia, a mental disorder within the terms of both the 2006 Act and the Mental Health Act 2001. Dr. Mohan considered that the renewal of the applicant's detention under the 2006 Act was appropriate in order to facilitate his continued care, treatment and rehabilitation. He felt that the applicant's mental illness is of a nature and degree which made it appropriate for him to continue to receive medical treatment in a hospital with conditions of medium security such as pertain at the Central Mental Hospital for the protection of other persons from serious harm and for the applicant's own health and safety.

12

12. He concluded that the applicant continues to lack insight into his condition and further that he lacks the capacity to instruct his legal advisers, make a proper defence or understand the evidence. Accordingly, Dr. Mohan did not recommend that the applicant's case be returned to trial.

13

13. The Review Board considered the matter on the 21 st of November, 2014 and concluded that it was clear that the applicant remains unfit to plead. The Board accordingly concluded:

"The Board is satisfied that [the applicant] continues to suffer from a very serious and chronic mental disorder which renders him unfit to plead and is in need of inpatient treatment in the Central Mental Hospital, and that he is properly detained there and should remain so detained pending further review."

14

14. The s. 4 (8) hearing took place in the Central Criminal Court before Butler J. over four days from the 2 nd to the 5 th of December, 2013. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court directed that written submissions be delivered by the parties.

15

15. Butler J. delivered his judgment on the 17 th of February, 2015, ruling that the applicant...

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1 cases
  • The People (At the Suit of the DPP) v F.X.
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 31 March 2022
    ...into the lawfulness of his detention. This application was heard by Noonan J. in FX v The Director of the Central Mental Hospital [2015] 2 IR 435 on the 19th and 20th of March 2015. Judgment was delivered on the 25th March 2015. Noonan J. held that the appellant was in lawful custody and re......
1 firm's commentaries
  • Mental Health Case Law Update
    • Ireland
    • Mondaq Ireland
    • 13 May 2015
    ...in determining whether an individual has capacity. Insanity and Fitness to Plead FX v Clinical Director of the Central Mental Hospital [2015] IEHC 190 The High Court considered whether the legal basis for the detention of the applicant, who was charged with murder and an offence contrary to......

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