Man sues council for ‘unlawful detention’

A psychiatric patient who claims he was unlawfully detained for
eight months is waiting to find out whether he can sue his local
council for compensation under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Despite a mental health tribunal’s decision in July 2001 that the
man, who can only be named as W for legal reasons, should be
conditionally discharged from hospital, he was not allowed to move
into a hostel for a further eight months.

His barrister argued the delay was “unreasonable” and amounted to a
violation of W’s “right to liberty” under article 5 of the European
Convention on Human Rights, entitling him to compensation.

However, Doncaster Council’s legal representative claimed that the
duty of care towards W had not been breached. The council had made
“reasonable” efforts to ensure his transfer out of the hospital but
there had been difficulties with the accommodation.

The judge reserved his decision and will give his ruling in due

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