Tom’s, 71 year old client, had been detained in hospital for 15 days under section 2 of the Mental Health Act when he had his Mental Health Tribunal. He had never previously had any involvement with mental health services.
The key assistance Tom provided in this case was in his advocacy at the Mental Health Tribunal. The clinical team were arguing that the ‘degree’ of Tom’s client’s mental disorder meant that it remained appropriate for him to be detained in hospital for assessment. However, when Tom cross examined the clinical team making reference to the up to date medical records he had viewed, it transpired that only one symptom out of eight actually remained.
The clinical team were also arguing that detention in hospital was warranted in the interests of the patient’s own safety. However, through careful questioning of the witnesses, it became apparent that no such risk had been present prior to admission to hospital or was evident in the hospital environment and was purely based on speculation. The Tribunal concluded their decision by saying that
The Tribunal agreed with Mr Battarbee’s submission that it was illogical to suggest that acting upon such beliefs could give rise to a real risk to (client’s) own safety
Happily Swain & Co’s client has now been discharged home.
‘This case shows the importance of vigorously challenging any unsubstantiated comments from the detaining authority in relation to risk. Here the detaining authority simply could not justify why detention was warranted in the interests of my client’s own safety without making hopelessly vague references to ‘potential vulnerability in the community’. It also shows how crucial it is to keep checking medical records right up to the date of the Tribunal, as particularly in section 2 cases, someone’s mental health can have changed dramatically in the space of a few days, rendering what the detaining authority have said in reports outdated.
Tom Battarbee and his team of Mental Health lawyers continue to secure excellent results for their clients. They work every day to achieve greater freedoms for their clients and to “empower people to make positive change”. If you, a family member or a friend need legal advice, assistance or representation in relation to any aspect of detention under the Mental Health Act, transfer from prison, nearest relative issues, please contact 0151 255 2286 now.