Judge hands down sex ban to man with low IQ
Published 05/02/2011 | 05:00
A man with a low IQ has been banned from having sexual intercourse by a High Court judge in the UK, who admitted the case raised questions about "civil liberties and personal autonomy".
The 41-year-old had been in a relationship with a man with whom he lived and told officials "it would make me feel happy" for it to continue.
But his local council, which provides his accommodation, decided his "vigorous sex drive" was inappropriate and that with an IQ of 48 and a "moderate" learning disability, he did not understand what he was doing. And so, the council started legal proceedings to restrict the relationship.
A psychiatrist involved in the case tried to prevent the man from being given sex education, on the grounds that it would leave him "confused".
Mr Justice Mostyn said the case was "legally, intellectually and morally" complex as sex is "one of the most basic human functions" and the court must "tread especially carefully" when the state tries to curtail it.
But he agreed that the man, known only as Alan, should not be allowed to have intercourse with anyone on the grounds that he did not have the mental capacity to understand the health risks associated with his actions.
Under the judge's order, the man is now subject to "close supervision" by the local authority to ensure he does not break the highly unusual order.
The judge concluded: "In such circumstances it is agreed that the present regime for Alan's supervision and for the prevention of future sexual activity is in his best interests."
It is the latest controversial case to come before Britain's Court of Protection.
Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, its judges have the power to make life-or-death decisions for people deemed to lack the intelligence to make them for themselves -- such as ordering that they undergo surgery, have forced abortions, have life-support switched off or be forced to use contraception.
In the latest case, Alan was described as being physically able but "seriously challenged in all aspects of his mental functionality".
Alan was also accused of making lewd gestures at children in a dentists's surgery and on a bus, although no police action was taken.
The town hall began court proceedings in 2009 to restrict contact between Alan and the man with whom he had a relationship on the grounds that he lacked mental capacity, and an interim order was made.
"Since then Alan has been subjected to close supervision to prevent any further sexual activity on his part," said the judge. (© Daily Telegraph, London)