The annual report of the Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board (MHRB) shows that it granted a conditional discharge to six patients last year, the same number as in 2020.
The body reviewed the detention of 87 patients – down slightly from 90 in 2020.
The board, which was set up in 2006 under section 11 of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006, reviews the detention of patients who have been referred to designated centres after a court decision that they are unfit to stand trial, or those who have been found not guilty of an offence by reason of insanity.
Its annual report reveals that the clinical director of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum informed the board in June that he had recalled one conditionally discharged patient to the hospital, on the grounds that he had a reasonable belief that the patient was in material breach of a Conditional Discharge Order.
The report also shows that four applications for unconditional discharge were received in 2021, as well as one application outstanding from the previous year.
Of the four applications received, one unconditional discharge was granted. The consideration of two applications was postponed, at the request of the applicants, and the hearing of the fourth application was started and adjourned for further consideration in 2022.
The hearing of the application which had been outstanding from the previous year was adjourned indefinitely.
Long‐term patients usually have two review hearings a year, but some may have more, as additional reviews can be held on the initiative of the board, or at the request of a patient or the clinical director of the Central Mental Hospital.
The Minister for Justice can direct the board to hold a review into the detention of a prisoner who is involuntarily admitted to the hospital.
25 on solicitor panel
The board is required under legislation to assign a legal representative to each patient whose detention is the subject of review, unless the patient proposes to engage legal representation at their own expense.
Its annual report shows that there were 25 solicitors on the panel of legal representatives set up by the board in 2006.
The average number of cases assigned to solicitors on the panel in 2021 was eight. The top quartile of solicitors was assigned an average of 14 cases each.