A MENTALLY ill man who has been in prison for almost 15 years without any sort of review of his case appeared in the High Court last Tuesday, February 14.
When Raybert Charles took the stand at the High Court #1, Justice Brian Cottle described what he heard as a “very bad indictment on our justice system…”.
The judge was displeased that the prisoner had been behind bars for almost 15 years without having a review.
It is unclear why Charles was taken to court only last Tuesday. When the matter was called counsel, Maria Jackson-Richards, appeared for the Crown. Not knowing why Charles had been imprisoned, she requested that the matter be stood down.
When the matter was recalled Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Karim Nelson appeared on behalf of the crown.
Nelson told the court that an order was made by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle on November 14, 2008. This order was for Charles to be removed from the Mental Health facility to more secure confinement at Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP).
It is apparent that the prisoner was in custody at the Mental Health Centre for some years before he was transferred to prison.
The court heard that the order was made because Charles was of unsound mind and he posed a dangerous threat to the lives of the doctors and the other patients at the Mental Health Centre.
As a result, he was ordered to be discharged from the Mental Health Centre and transferred with immediate effect to a secured unit of HMP, until Her Majesty’s pleasure be known.
It was also ordered that medical officials should keep the prisoner under special observation, ensure that he receives all requisite medication necessary for his treatment and take such steps as considered proper for his segregation from the general prison population.
Nelson said based on the information he received, Charles had killed someone when he was a patient at the Mental Health Centre. However, he told the court that he would seek to verify that information.
He made an application that the matter be kept on the list and the Crown be allowed an opportunity to gather further information and a psychiatric report.
The judge granted the application made by the assistant DPP; he also said that the court needs additional information. He ordered a psychiatric report on Charles and listed the matter for review after receipt of the report.
The judge told the prisoner that after the report has been given “I will bring you back and tell you what happens after.”
Cottle also noted that persons cannot be sitting in prison without being reviewed; they have to be checked on from time to time and, in this case, no checks were made on the prisoner since 2008.
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