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Two discharged CMH patients recalled in 2023
National Forensic Mental Health Service in Portrane, Co Dublin Pic: Courtesy HSE

10 Jun 2024 / justice Print

Two discharged CMH patients recalled in 2023

The annual report of the Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board (MHRB) shows that it granted conditional discharges to five patients last year, compared with four in 2022.

The independent body held 187 reviews of the detention of 89 patients – up from 180 reviews linked to 82 patients in 2022.

There were two applications for amendments to conditional discharges, of which one was granted.

Seven applications for unconditional discharge were received in 2023. Of the total applications received, four unconditional discharges were granted by the board, with hearings on the remainder rescheduled or postponed to this year.

‘Material breach’ of order

The report says that the interim executive clinical director of the Central Mental Hospital (CMH), Dr Brenda Wright, recalled two conditionally discharged patients to the hospital last year, as she had a reasonable belief that they were in material breach of their order.

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.

The board must assign a legal representative to each patient subject to a review, and it set up a panel of legal representatives for this purpose in 2006.

Solicitors sought

At the end of 2023, there were 21 members on this panel. This was down from 23 a year earlier, due to the resignations of two members.

Last month, the body sought expressions of interest from solicitors for inclusion on the panel.

The average number of cases assigned to solicitors on the panel in 2022 was eight, according to the board’s annual report.

The free legal-aid scheme cost just over €109,000 last year, according to the report.

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