Malcolm Baker's hearing was lost on the 1st of February 2018,the Mental Health review tribunal determine that Malcolm should continue to be detained at Long Bay Prison hospital. Placing a halt on a series of three previous victories in 2010, 2015 and 2016, whereby MHRT found no justification for continuing Malcolm’s forced medication. Given Malcolm’s previous record of non-violent behaviour, the lack of consensus regarding his mental diagnosis, and the absence of any evidence that he was a threat to other inmates, it was surprising, if not completely outrageous, that the MHRT arrived at the decision that it did.
During the hearing, Malcolm was represented and advocated solely by the Justice Action team. The tribunal allocated time for Justice Action to make Malcolm’s case, cross examine health authorities and suggest viable alternate treatment options. Two main legal arguments were presented to the tribunal.
- The requirements for involuntary admission, detention and treatment under s 14 of the Mental Health Act 2007 were not met.
Malcolm’s health debate has been disputed for a long period of time. The two most recent medical certificates presented before the Tribunal did not provide a consistent diagnosis. However, Justice Actions main contention was that there was a failure to establish a causal relationship between Malcolm’s mental illness and his two recent assaults. Section 14 of the Mental Health Act 2007 States that there must be ‘reasonable grounds for believing that care, treatment or control of the person is necessary for the person’s own protection from serious harm, or for the protection of others from serious harm’. On one of the medical certificates, it was stated that Malcolm had threatened to harm others. A request was made on the 24th of January asking Justice Health to provide evidence of this. However, the request was ignored and no evidence was provided.
- There had been a breach of the Principles for Care and Treatment of Mentally Ill Persons under s 68 of the Mental Health Act 2007.
Requirements under section 68 embrace that people with mental illnesses ‘should receive the best possible care and treatment, the prescription of medicine should meet the health needs of the person and not as a punishment or for the convenience of others.’. In particular, Justice Action drew attention to the side effects of the medication. It was reaffirmed that Malcolm was in blatant opposition to the treatment that he was receiving. Yet, his alleged failure to meaningfully engage with medical practitioners formed the basis of Justice Health’s recommendation that Malcolm should remain at Long Bay Prison Hospital for several more months to ensure that the medication had any “real effect”.
Following the last hearing with the mental health review tribunal on the 1st of February 2018 to which ruled that Malcolm was to continue to forcibly be medicated against his will, Justice Action has consistently engaged in the lobbying of the 12 leading legal and mental health organisations for support for Malcolm’s case. Also maintaining regular contact with Malcolm for updates on his situation. Next hearing with Mental Health Review Tribunal to consider forensic Compulsory Treatment Order scheduled Thursday 19th April 2018 at 12.45pm, at Long Bay Hospital.