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Mental Health Law abuses Civil Liberty and Health Professionalism

Comment 2nd July 2010

Mental Health Law Barbarism

We often hear these days that somebody has been arrested under the Mental Health Act – it is an escape clause for the Police, who do not have to defend their position, for the result is often imprisonment without trial on a section 2 for at least two weeks. This is not the end of it however. If the innocent client expresses anger at being so detained, they will automatically be treated as mentally ill, forced to take drugs, and imprisoned for even longer until they are considered safe to release back into the community. Safe? Yes, the blame game has spread to the mostly sycophant Police State psychiatrist, who now protects him or herself rather than help the client back into the community – “as soon as possible” has become “as long as possible”.

I was arrested under the Mental Health Act by a Police officer on 7june2008. He took me to his local psychiatric hospital. I was given a bed to sleep on, but was shaken awake to be taken to a group of three people to be interviewed. I said to them that I had been woken from a deep sleep and wanted time to wake before an interview, so I departed back to my bed after just twenty seconds with them. To my surprise, I discovered later that I was sectioned by that group of three in my absence as follows: “Placed on S136 MHA for driving erratically. Reluctant to be interviewed but brief assessment reveals thought disorder, irritability, guarded manner suggestive of psychosis. Does not consent to hospitalisation which he needs for assessment.” A wholly prejudiced trio, who observed the letter of the inadequate dictatorial Law (they did actually see me – for 20 seconds!). I was imprisoned for two weeks because I did not wake up sufficiently for their interview at their convenience – who cared about me? I should have genuflected of course. This is not mental health assessment, but the first expression of barbarism.

Having got me onto a section 2 they then immediately proceeded to force tablets onto me – it turns out that section 2 is “assessment and treatment”. How can any engineer of the mind assess somebody impartially if that person is being treated with tablets at the same time? This is ridiculous – not only is the Law mixed up in principle, but the people who use it are also unprincipled. Section 3 is “treatment”. Doctors of Engineering are so qualified because they have learnt how to research and solve problems – these psychiatrist doctors are clearly not educated the same way – any complaint and you are drugged. I have heard that Stalin did the same many years ago.

I asked for a formal Mental Health Review Tribunal, which took place more than two weeks later at another hospital, but I was not allowed to speak. The Lawyer in charge (Tribunals are headed by a Lawyer not a Health Professional) said that, in Law, the Tribunal did not even need me there, though he did allow me to stay and watch the interview with a local psychiatrist (supporting his own trio of colleagues who had sectioned me elsewhere, but who did not turn up – so the evidence to the Tribunal was not even direct, but hearsay!!). I tried to comment on the way through, but the Lawyer in charge admonished me for doing so, and afterwards said that I would not be released from the section 2. My Legal Aid Lawyer was present merely to ensure that the Law was observed, and I had no Psychologist on my side to challenge what was being said (psychologists are better educated and taught how to evaluate behaviour, while psychiatrists merely experiment on people to see how they react to various drugs, especially in response to Police pressure). I was not allowed to see (let alone challenge) the Policeman who had initially arrested me, and he was not invited to the Tribunal either, so poorly is the Law constructed. I had to complain for myself, but clearly at risk of being ejected from the Tribunal! I later asked that the Tribunal should at least explain why I was not released, (I wrote to the Tribunal HQ) but that was refused. This is not justice, this is awful, for there are then no grounds for appeal.

The Law hides all of these people away from challenge. I am convicted with no chance to say anything appropriate in my defence, and perhaps not even to hear the evidence against me. Magna Carta? Parliament has done away with it. I want to see a Magistrate in future please, to allow challenge of the Health professional, as well as the Law.
 

Why does this matter?

In conclusion then, Civil Liberty and Human Rights are important, so being imprisoned without allowing of an appropriate defence is Bad Law. The Mental Health Act Tribunal process is not good enough because it merely assesses whether a psychiatrist and colleagues have acted in accordance with the Law, and does not allow a defence based on an assessment of their personal and professional (perhaps inadequate) judgement – the Tribunal addresses Law not Health!!
 

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