Sheriff Principal rejects appeal based on alleged unlawful detention
17 October 2012
The case of AB v Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland & Others concerned an appeal against a decision of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland.
AB was subject to a compulsory treatment order in terms of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. AB was required to reside in a particular care home. The care home had a keypad facility. AB did not have access to the code for the keypad. AB applied to the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland seeking revocation or variation of the compulsory treatment order. AB argued that she was unlawfully detained at the care home. The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland considered AB’s application and, after hearing all the evidence in the case, declined to vary or revoke the compulsory treatment order. AB appealed to the Sheriff Principal.
The case centred on whether an individual that is required to reside in a “locked” care home is unlawfully detained. The Sheriff Principal accepted that there is a distinction between “detention” and “restrictions” that are placed on the liberty of an individual. Merely because restrictions are imposed on an individual does not automatically mean that the individual is unlawfully detained.
The Sheriff Principal rejected AB’s argument that the regime at the care home amounted to unlawful detention. Merely because AB did not have access to the code for the keypad did not mean that she was unlawfully detained. The Sheriff Principal considered AB’s care package and noted that there was no recorded incident when AB had asked to leave the care home and this had been refused. The Sheriff Principal held that the Mental Health Tribunal had been entitled to conclude that the care arrangements at the care home provided the best arrangements possible for AB’s care. Accordingly, the appeal was refused.
John MacGregor, of Axiom Advocates, appeared for the Responsible Medical Officer.
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