Sunday 20 January 2019

Man (63) made ward of court after care-home hearing

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Stock image

Ray Managh

A 63-year-old man who has suffered from life-long epilepsy has been made a ward of court.

Last week High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly travelled to a nursing home in a rural area to hear the case of the man who was appealing to be allowed to return to his home.

Yesterday, the judge said in a reserved judgment that during a two-hour hearing in the nursing home, and in a number of hearings prior to that, the court had heard what he described as "a clash of medical evidence" regarding the man's capacity to look after himself.

Judge Kelly said that because of this, while taking the man into wardship, the court would be open to new medical and psychiatric assessments being made in six or 12 months' time to review its decision.

The court appointed the general solicitor for minors and wards to act as the man's committee which will be responsible for following court-approved guidelines with regard to the man's treatment and financial affairs.

He will, pending further court order, remain resident in the nursing home. The matter was put in to the High Court Wardship list for October 15.

Judge Kelly took the unusual decision to hear the man's appeal in the nursing home after being told by the man's doctor that the stress of court proceedings in a formal setting could trigger a seizure.

The visiting court had heard conflicting views about whether the man had the necessary mental capacity to manage his health and finances. A treating consultant geriatrician and court-appointed medical visitor said that the man lacked capacity. However, two consultant geriatricians who assessed him in May believed he had the necessary capacity.

The court heard that the man had become malnourished when living alone at home.

Sage, the support and advocacy service, issued a statement in which it expressed deep disappointment that one of its clients who had resisted wardship in order to live in the place of his choice had lost his legal autonomy.

Irish Independent

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