Thursday, 5 January 2012

Christopher Buttler won case for illegaly detained mentally ill person

Christopher Butler, highly recommended barrister, won the case for a patient who was illegally detained by London psychiatric hospital following wrong use of the Mental Incapacity Act by the police.
Read judgement here:

Sessay, R (on the application of) v South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust & Anor

What this case illustrates is that police used wrongly Mental Incapacity Act as a short cut because they did not have a warrant required to use Mental Health Act 1983 Section 135 (this applies when patient is not in public place).
The psychiatric hospital assumed that patient was brought in on Section 136 of Mental Health Act 1983 (applies to situation when patient is in a public place) although they knew otherwise. They proceeded to assess for detention under Section 2 of Mental Health Act 1983 and completed admission of patient under Section 2 of Mental Health Act 1983.
What a mess!
Doctor who signed Section 2 papers should have known better but just went along with what police did.
Some NHS trusts have policy/procedures for Section 135 and HERE is one. There are alternatives available to police apart from Section 135. However, one way or another they would need to call for prompt assistance from other professionals.

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