Application to detain child under Mental Health Act withdrawn – 2021vol1#3

An application to discharge an order granted under section 25 of the Mental Health Act 2001 was granted in the District court of a provincial city. Section 25 of the Mental Health Act 2001 permits a health board to apply to the District Court for an order authorising the detention of a child in an approved centre, if it appears the child is suffering from a mental disorder or requires treatment which the child would not receive unless the order is made.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) was represented by a solicitor. The guardian ad litem (GAL) was not present but represented by a barrister. Neither the parents of the young person nor the Child and Family Agency (CFA) were in court and neither were any legal representatives for them as the HSE was applying to discharge the Section 25 order.

Evidence was heard from a consultant psychiatrist who said that since the young person had been admitted to his unit, he had formally assessed the young person five times, and his last contact with the boy was the same day as the court hearing. He found no evidence of mental illness.

He said the young person’s behaviour was challenging and he was exceptionally defiant, but it was not mental illness. He said that the young person made requests or demands and if they were not met he would damage property or threaten those who refused him. He said the young person had little reflection, but he was capable of understanding the consequences of his actions and demonstrated no remorse.

He had spoken with the boy’s mother who had agreed that the current detention was unhelpful. He had liaised with his colleagues in the community who had offered the young person outpatient appointments, services and follow-up. The judge asked if the mother was in agreement with this plan and this course of action and the psychiatrist confirmed she was. The psychiatrist confirmed his professional opinion was that this young person did not suffer from a mental disorder or psychosis.

The barrister for the GAL informed the court that the GAL had not produced a report as he had been unable to meet with the young person, as he [the young person] was unwilling to meet with the GAL.

The judge discharged the order.