Thursday 20 June 2019

Man with schizophrenia may be released after three years

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Natasha Reid

A 28-year-old man with schizophrenia, sentenced to nine years in prison for attempting to murder a teenager camping with friends, will be released from prison after three years on condition he lives with his mother.

Michael Corbett, who also assaulted his victim's two friends, had the final six years of his sentence suspended as he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack.

The father of one, who was living rough at the victims' chosen campsite, had a previous address in Raheny in Dublin. He had pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of the 17-year-old on June 27, 2016, at the Hellfire Club on Dublin's Montpelier Hill.

Mr Justice Michael White previously praised the young man's two friends for coming to his aid only to be assaulted themselves. At his sentence hearing earlier this month, he also praised Corbett's first victim, who had received a 4in stab wound to his chest during the attack.

He noted medical reports, which showed that the accused was suffering from the severe mental disability paranoid schizophrenia at the time.

He noted the illness would manifest itself again if Corbett stopped taking his medication or returned to alcohol or drugs.

He imposed a sentence of nine years, with six years suspended on specific conditions, which he finalised yesterday. The main condition was that he would live with his mother on his release from prison for the remaining six years of the term.

"The court can't take a chance with this man being homeless again," he said. "He's not permitted to live other than with his mother, apart from the consent of the court to do that."

Mr Justice White then called his mother, Margaret Corbett, to the witness box and asked her if she thought she'd be able to manage the situation at home.

"I would hope so," she replied. "I would hope Michael will take his medication and I would hope I would have the cooperation of the psychiatric services."

She said that she would know straight away if he stopped taking his medication and undertook to inform gardaí if this happened.

Corbett then stood up and entered a €100 bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the suspended six years. He will remain under the supervision of the probation and welfare services for six years from his release from prison.

He also agreed to live with his mother in the family home on his release, to comply with the medication prescribed for the treatment of his schizophrenia, remain alcohol and drug-free, attend all probation appointments, engage with all recovery services as appropriate, attend any addiction services and any training and employment services directed by the probation services.

The judge then spoke to him directly: "You've received a nine-year sentence, not a three-year sentence," he said.

"You'll be closely watched in the community. If you mess up in your mother's family home, you'll be brought back here and be sent back to prison.

"You take your medication and you can't leave the family home without the consent of the court."

Mr Justice White explained that there had been mention of anti-social behaviour during his time in the Central Mental Hospital.

"That's the reason for the strict conditions," he said.

Irish Independent

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