Man held in jail for setting fire to his own sofa

| 02/10/2012

(CNS): The crown’s case against a man accused of setting a sofa on fire, who appeared to be suffering with mental health issues, raised concerns in the court on Friday when a judge queried the indictment against him. Justice Alex Henderson questioned the prosecution's efforts to charge the man with arson for setting fire to what may well have been his own property.  The judge noted that the charges against the defendant, whose ability to even plead to the charges was in question, may have been used as a way to get him into custody but, the judge observed, now he was there he was not being properly treated.

The court heard that a report had raised serious concerns about the man’s presence for several weeks in HMP Northward and his lack of treatment. The case illustrated the continued problems that are arising as a result of the country’s lack of facilities for dealing with mental health patients who may present a danger to themselves or others.

Alongside the problems regarding the charges against the man, the indictment itself and the ingredients of the crime, the court also heard that a fitness to plead report which had been ordered by a judge last week had not been done. Instead, a psychologist’s report about the problems the defendant was facing at the prison and his need for medical as well as mental health treatment was submitted to the court.

With a number of issues in question, the judge noted that “none of it was satisfactory” as he ordered a review of the case.

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Category: Crime

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