Mental Health Criminal Law Review Board
The legislation establishes the Mental Health Criminal Law Review Board. It is independent in the exercise of its functions and shall have regard to the welfare and safety of persons whose detention or conditions of discharge it reviews and for the public interest.
The Review Board holds sittings for its functions and may receive evidence. It must take account of court records and proceedings to whose decisions the request for review relates. It shall assign a legal representative to the patient unless he or she proposes to engage one.
The Review Board may direct a consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the person the subject of the review, to arrange for the patient to attend before the Board. It may direct in writing any person whose evidence is required, to produce any document or thing. It may give other directions for the purpose of proceedings that appear to be reasonable and just.
The Review Board shall determine its procedures. Witnesses have the same privileges as in a court. It is an offence to refuse to comply with the Board’s directions in relation to matters where it has authority.
The Review Board shall ensure that the detention of a person is reviewed at intervals and such length nothing more than 6 months as it considers appropriate and the Clinical Director of the relevant Designated Centre shall comply without any request by the Review Board in connection with the review.
No Longer Unfiit
Where the Clinical Director of the Designated Centre is of the opinion that the patient is no longer unfit to be tried, he shall notify the court that committed patient and the court shall order the patient to be brought before it to be dealt with us as it sees it. Where the Clinical Director forms an opinion that although still unfit to be charged and tried, he is no longer in need of inpatient care, he shall forthwith notify the Review Board of his opinion.
The Review Board shall order the patient be brought before it and having heard the evidence relating to his mental condition given by the consultant psychiatrist responsible for his care and treatment, determine the question of whether or not the treatment referred to above is still required in the same manner as if it is has been determined above and it shall make such orders it thinks appropriate whether for further detention, care, treatment conditional or unconditional discharge.
Where the Clinical Director of a Designated Centre forms the opinion that the patient no longer is in need of in-patient care or treatment at a Designated Centre he or she shall forthwith notify the Review Board. The Review Board must have the patient brought before it and having considered the evidence relating to his mental condition given by the consultant psychiatrist responsible for his or her care or treatment, determine the question of whether or not the treatment is still required and shall make such order as it thinks proper, including for further detention, care, conditional discharge or unconditional discharge.
Review of Detention
A patient detained above may apply to the Review Board for a review of detention and unless the Review Board is satisfied that such a review is not necessary, it will order the patient to be brought before it for the determination in a similar manner as above. Where it determines that the person is no longer unfit for trial, it may order that the patient be brought before the court concerned. If it determines that the person is still unfit to be tried but no longer in need of inpatient care or treatment, it may make such order as it thinks fit including discharge or unconditional discharge etc.
The Review Board may in reviewing detention, make an order for the discharge of person subject conditions including conditions as to outpatient treatment, supervision or both, as it considers appropriate. It shall not make a conditional discharge until it is satisfied that arrangements as appear necessary to the Clinical Director have been made and for that purpose, the Director will make such arrangements as may be necessary for facilitating compliance by the patient with the proposed order and its conditions and provision for the return of the patient if he is in material breach of the conditions.
The terms and conditions must be communicated and explained. The effect of the conditions and the fact of return on material breach must be explained. A person subject of a conditional discharge order is obliged to comply with the conditions.
Discharge and Breach
At any time after a conditional discharge order is made, the Board on application to it by the Clinical Director or the person concerned may vary or remove the conditions or impose such further conditions as if originally made. The application is made on notice.
In the case of alleged material breach, the person is deemed unlawfully at large. Where the Clinical Director on reasonable grounds believes that the person is in material breach and there is a serious likelihood of the person causing harm to himself or others or that he made need inpatient care or treatment, then there is deemed material breach.
It shall inform the person concerned unless it believes that there is a likelihood of the person concerned causing immediate and serious harm to himself or others. He is to arrange for an officer of the centre to effect the person’s return. If necessary, Garda assistance may be requested.
The Gardai have powers to enter a dwelling house by force if they have a reasonable cause to believe that the person may be there. They may take all reasonable measure necessary for the return of the person to the centre and where necessary, the detention and restraint of the person.
There are provisions for the temporary transfer and release of persons from Designated Centres and transfers to other centres. A person, who having been temporarily released does not return or breaches a condition of release, is deemed unlawfully at large and the above provisions apply.
There are provisions whereby a prisoner may be transferred to a Designated Centre where a relevant officer certifies that the prisoner is suffering from mental disorder for which he cannot be afforded appropriate treatment in prison and the prisoner voluntarily consents to the transfer.
Where the person does not voluntarily consent, and two or more relevant officer certify in writing that he is suffering from mental disorder for which appropriate care or treatment is not available in the prison, he may be removed. A process exists for giving a copy of the direction to the Clinical Director of the Designated Centre the prisoner and the Minister.
Where the person transferred refuses to receive care or treatment there for mental disorder and two or more officers of the prison certify that he should remain in the centre for the purpose of receiving care, the prisoner shall remain in that centre. In other cases, he shall be transferred back to the prison or another prison.
When a prisoner is retained in a Designated Centre, the Minister may direct the Review Board to review the detention of a prisoner there.
The Review Board shall ensure that the detention of a prisoner in a Designated Centre pursuant to the above transfer provisions is reviewed every six months as it considers appropriate. A prisoner transferred to a Designated Centre may apply to the Review Board for review of his detention.
Wherein any proceedings for an offence, the defence intends to produce evidence of mental condition, notice of the intention must be given to the prosecution within 10 days of the accused being asked how he or she wishes to plead. Where the notice is not given within that period then would have prejudice to other provisions, such evidence shall not be given without leave of court as to the mental condition of the accused.
Board Review of Detention (2010 Changes)
Revised provision is made for the criteria to which the Mental Health Criminal Law Review Broad must have regard, in reviewing detention so that also applied to reviews of the conditions of a person’s conditional discharge and application for unconditional discharge. The criteria are the welfare and safety of the person concerned and the public interest. The Mental Health Criminal Law Board may make orders for conditional discharge of patients.
A new scheme of conditional discharge is provided. The board may make an order for the discharge of a patient subject to conditions. These include conditions relating to outpatient treatment or supervision or both.
The review board may only make a conditional discharge order where arrangements in relation to the discharge considered necessary by the Clinical Director of the designated centre has been made. They include provisions for where the patient fails to comply with conditions, supervision of the patients and providing for the patient to return if he fails to abide with the conditions.
The conditions must be communicated to the person in writing. The effect of the order and the consequences of non-compliance must be explained. The person is obliged to comply with the conditional discharge order. A copy of the order is to be sent to the Minister for Justice and the Clinical Director.
The Review Board may vary or remove any of the conditions or impose further conditions on the application of the person concerned or the Clinical Director. Notice of the application is to be given to the person concerned and the Clinical Director.
The person may apply to Review Board for unconditional discharge after 12 months from the date of conditional discharge. Subsequent applications may be made if necessary, for as long as a period of at least 12 months has passed between applications.
Breach of Conditional Discharge (2010 Changes)
There is provision for a material breach of a conditional discharge order. The person in breach is unlawfully at large. Where the Clinical Director of the designated centre on reasonable grounds believes that the person is in breach of one or more conditions of his discharge and there is a serious likelihood of the person causing serious harm to himself or others, he may take certain steps.
The Clinical Director must inform a person believed to be in a material breach of a conditional discharge order of the facts and the reasons for the belief. This does not apply where the Clinical Director on reasonable grounds believes that the material breach is such as to give reasonable grounds to believe there is a serious likelihood of the person committing immediate and serious harm to himself or others.
The Clinical Director may make arrangements to effect the person’s return to the designated centre including requesting Garda assistance. The returned person must be given reasons in writing for his return.
The provisions of the original order apply once again to the person as it did when he was originally committed to the designated centre. The Clinical Director must inform the Review Board of the return and the Board must review the detention as soon as maybe.
The registered proprietor of the designated centre may make arrangements for the externally provided assisted return of the person.