Wednesday 18 July 2018

Son, who is accused of threatening his mother, barred from her hospital following court order

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A son who was secretly recorded as threatening his elderly mother, who has advanced dementia, has been restrained by court order from visiting her in hospital.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, said he was reluctantly making that order having been told earlier today the man sought earlier that day to remove his mother from her hospital bed in breach of earlier orders.

David Leahy BL, for the HSE, told the judge the hospital had to call its security.

The judge said details of the matter must be put on affidavit but what he had been told occurred was “indefensible” and it seemed the son’s presence in hospital was not to his mother’s benefit.

He warned the son, if he breached the order, he would be in contempt for which the penalty was imprisonment.

The incident followed the “disgraceful berating” of this elderly woman evident from a recording by the man’s sister of exchanges between him and his parents, the judge said.

The man’s sister had told the court in a letter that, during a phone conversation with her father, the latter had not hung up the phone and she had recorded exchanges between her parents and her brother over about half an hour.

The judge said a 23 page transcript of those exchanges showed what occurred was not a “once in a blue moon flying off the handle, it goes on and on”.

He had also had a “reluctant confirmation” in court from the father concerning a District Court application two years ago for a barring order against his son.

The son told the judge he had no recollection of much of what was on that recording and his mother wants to go home. She is “constantly looking for me” and is “highly distressed if I’m not there”.

He had just heard what was said about events at the hospital but had no affidavits about that or other matters and wanted more time to get lawyers.

When he said another sister was in court and wished to say something, the judge said it was best she do so on affidavit.

His father said his wife wants to go home and he could not remember the District Court matter the judge had referred to.

Both men questioned the legality of the woman’s removal by gardai from her home in early June for the purpose of being brought to hospital and said they wanted her returned home immediately.

The judge gave both more time to get lawyers and directed they get all material put before the court to date.

He made orders restraining the son visiting his mother pending further order and continued orders restraining any interference by either the son or father in the hospital’s care and management of the woman.

She remains under interim court protection pending inquiry as to whether she should be made a ward of court.

Last month, the judge noted the transcript of the recording of exchanges between the son and his parents showed the son threatened his mother he would "knock you out with this fucking hand" and described her as "brain dead" and a "mad bitch".

He described the content of the exchanges as the “worst I have ever seen” in his years on the bench.

The judge was also concerned that a surgeon, who late last year performed a hip fusing procedure on the woman, had said he is "baffled" as to how her hip since became dislocated. The surgeon expressed the view that could only have happened as a result of trauma.

The son previously told the court "underlying issues" built up when caring for someone with dementia, and he was otherwise offering very good care to his mother and wanted an opportunity to inform the court in detail about that. 

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