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Drilldown: Cases

Not many cases (230 of them) have been added to the database so far. To see the full list of cases (2057) go to the Mental health case law page.

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Cases > Subject : Bias or Capacity to consent to sexual relations or Disability discrimination or Other criminal law cases

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Page name Sentence Summary
B v A Local Authority (2019) EWCA Civ 913

(1) Overlap between different decisions; (2) Sex

(1) "The important questions on these appeals are as to the factors relevant to making the determinations of capacity which are under challenge and as to the approach to assessment of capacity when the absence of capacity to make a particular decision would conflict with a conclusion that there is capacity to make some other decision." (2) The Court of Appeal also decided on what is necessary to have capacity to consent to sexual relations.

JG v Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (2019) UKUT 187 (AAC)

Non-legal research by judge

Judicial summary from gov.uk website: "Mental Health First-tier Tribunal - Judicial Bias - Apparent bias - Breach of Natural Justice - Procedural Irregularity. Where a First-tier Tribunal judge undertook non-legal research by accessing a court of appeal judgment in respect of the appellant, did this lead to a presumption of bias and automatic disqualification? Did it lead to a conclusion of a real possibility of bias? Whether so doing amounts to a procedural irregularity leading to a breach of natural justice in that it rendered the hearing unfair. In the circumstances appertaining there can be no presumption of bias leading to automatic disqualification. On the facts of the case there was no real possibility of bias. Undertaking the non-legal research was a procedural irregularity but on the facts the hearing was not unfair."

London Borough of Tower Hamlets v NB (2019) EWCOP 17

Capacity to consent to sex with husband

"There is also evidence that indicates that NB very much enjoys the status of marriage, is affectionate to her husband [AU] and, on occasion, initiates sexual relations. This appears consistent with Ms Wilson's observations as long ago as 1996. The primary issue before the Court is whether NB truly has the capacity to consent to sexual relations. ... Unfortunately, the case attracted a great deal of media coverage, this notwithstanding that no argument had been heard and no Judgment delivered. A great deal of the comment was sententious and, in some instances, irresponsible. It is considered, by the Official Solicitor and the applicant Local Authority, that the impact of that publicity frightened AU very considerably, leading him to believe that he was likely to be sent to prison. He has left the party's flat and disengaged with these proceedings. ... [Mr Bagchi for the OS] submits it is a 'general' or 'issue-specific' test rather than a partner-specific one. If Mr Bagchi is correct, the difficulty that presents in this case is that there is only one individual with whom it is really contemplated that NB is likely to have a sexual relationship i.e. her husband of 27 years. It seems entirely artificial therefore to be assessing her capacity in general terms when the reality is entirely specific. ... As I said on the last occasion, these issues are integral to the couple's basic human rights. There is a crucial social, ethical and moral principle in focus. It is important that the relevant test is not framed in such a restrictive way that it serves to discriminate against those with disabilities, in particular those with low intelligence or border line capacity. ... Mr Bagchi has accepted that if a person-specific test were applied here then the outcome, in terms of assessment of NB's capacity may be different. ... I do not necessarily consider that the applicable test in the Court of Protection necessarily excludes the 'person specific approach'. I am reserving my Judgment ..."

Manchester City Council Legal Services v LC (2018) EWCOP 30

Sexual exploitation, restrictions where adults have capacity

After a circuit judge endorsed a care plan which led to the repeated sexual exploitation by strangers of a young woman with autism and significant learning disabilities (who had capacity to consent to sexual relations but lacked capacity to make decisions on her contact with men), Hayden J provided guidance that 'where issues arise that may necessitate restrictions in areas where adults have capacity, these should be heard by a High Court Judge in the Court of Protection'.

Miller v DPP (2018) EWHC 262 (Admin)

Appropriate adult

"This is an appeal by way of case stated from a pre-trial ruling of the Black Country Magistrates' Court sitting at Dudley on 13 October 2016 in respect of an information preferred against the Appellant for failing to provide a specimen of blood in breach of section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, not to exercise its discretion under section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to exclude evidence of the drug drive procedure at Oldbury Police Station that led to the charge being made. ... On 24 June 2016, the Appellant was stopped by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. When arrested and taken into custody, he behaved erratically and aggressively. It appears that he was known to the police as a person who had learning difficulties and autism. ... As Mr Scott submitted, the presence of an appropriate adult (whilst not being able to provide technical, legal or medical advice) would have provided the Appellant with the opportunity not only to have the question as to whether or not to provide a sample explained to him, but also to obtain an appreciation of the consequences of failing to do so. He points out that the offence of failing to provide a blood sample is predicated not only on the person's comprehension of the requirement to provide a sample, but also of the consequences of failing to do so in terms of criminal liability. The Appellant was clearly very exercised whilst being detained, and there is a very real possibility that the presence of an appropriate adult would have calmed him, and led him to behave differently and make different choices from those he in fact made. ... [H]aving found there to have been a breach of Code C in failing to inform and summon an appropriate adult to the police station, we do not consider that the magistrates did properly exercise their discretion under section 78 of PACE not to exclude the evidence of the drug drive procedure. Their reasoning was, unfortunately, fundamentally flawed; and, had they exercised their discretion properly, they would have been bound to have excluded the evidence of the drug drive procedure."

R (Hall) v SSJ (2018) EWHC 1905 (Admin)

Autism in prison

Unsuccessful judicial review by prisoner claiming breach of Equality Act 2010 reasonable adjustments duty.

R v C (2008) EWCA Crim 1155

Capacity to consent to sexual activity

If the complainant consented to sexual activity against her inclination because she was frightened of the defendant, even if her fear was irrational and caused by her mental disorder, it did not follow that she lacked the capacity to choose whether to agree to sexual activity. [Overturned on appeal.]

R v C (2009) UKHL 42

Sexual consent

For the purposes of s30 Sexual Offences Act 2003: (1) lack of capacity to choose can be person or situation specific; (2) an irrational fear arising from mental disorder that prevents the exercise of choice could amount to a lack of capacity to choose; (3) inability to communicate could be as a result of a mental or physical disorder.

R v Spencer (1987) UKHL 2

Nurses' appeal against ill-treatment conviction

Six nurses appealed against convictions for ill-treating a patient contrary to s126 Mental Health Act 1959 (the old equivalent of MHA 1983 s127), three successfully.

R v Taj (2018) EWCA Crim 1743

Intoxication

(1) Appeal against conviction: "The defence sought to rely on self-defence as codified in s76 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 noting, in particular, s76(4)(b) which makes it clear that the defence is available even if the defendant is mistaken as to the circumstances as he genuinely believed them to be whether or not the mistake was a reasonable one for him to have made. Although s76(5) provides that a defendant is not entitled to rely upon any mistaken belief attributable to intoxication that was voluntarily induced, it was argued that as there was no suggestion that Taj had alcohol or drugs present in his system at the time, he was not 'intoxicated' and so was not deprived of the defence. It was also submitted that R v McGee, R v Harris, R v Coley [2013] EWCA Crim 223 supported the proposition that to be in a state of 'voluntarily intoxication' there had to be alcohol or drugs active in the system at the time of the offence. ... In our view, the words "attributable to intoxication" in s. 76(5) are broad enough to encompass both (a) a mistaken state of mind as a result of being drunk or intoxicated at the time and (b) a mistaken state of mind immediately and proximately consequent upon earlier drink or drug-taking, so that even though the person concerned is not drunk or intoxicated at the time, the short-term effects can be shown to have triggered subsequent episodes of e.g. paranoia. This is consistent with common law principles. We repeat that this conclusion does not extend to long term mental illness precipitated (perhaps over a considerable period) by alcohol or drug misuse. In the circumstances, we agree with Judge Dodgson, that the phrase "attributable to intoxication" is not confined to cases in which alcohol or drugs are still present in a defendant's system. It is unnecessary for us to consider whether this analysis affects the decision in Harris: it is sufficient to underline that the potential significance of voluntary intoxication in the two cases differs." The appeal against conviction was dismissed. (2) The application for leave to appeal against sentence was refused.

R v Tunstill (2018) EWCA Crim 1696

Infanticide wrongly withdrawn from jury

"This was a case where the child was killed soon after birth so that this case can be distinguished from the situation where mental ill health, usually post-partum psychosis, develops over a period of time. Nonetheless, there was evidence from Dr Bashir and Dr Khisty which showed that notwithstanding the existence of the appellant's pre-birth mental disorder, the effects of giving birth had led to a further condition, characterised by Dr Bashir as an acute stress reaction which was a causative factor in disturbing the balance of the appellant's mind. The issue of causation is a matter of fact for a jury after appropriate direction from a judge as to what can constitute a legally effective cause. For the reasons given, we consider that the effects of birth are not required by s.1(1) to be the sole cause of a disturbance of balance of the mind. In the circumstances, we are persuaded that the judge should not have withdrawn infanticide from the jury. There was evidence fit for the jury's consideration. It is not for this court to assess the likelihood of its success. Dr Barlow's evidence was to the contrary, but the issue for us is whether a jury should have had this alternative option to consider. We think it should have had that opportunity. In the circumstances, therefore, the conviction for murder is unsafe and the verdict is quashed. In our judgment, the interests of justice require a re-trial and we so order."

Re A (Capacity: Social Media and Internet Use: Best Interests) (2019) EWCOP 2

Social media and internet use

"I have reached the clear view that the issue of whether someone has capacity to engage in social media for the purposes of online ‘contact’ is distinct (and should be treated as such) from general consideration of other forms of direct or indirect contact. ... It is my judgment, having considered the submissions and proposals of the parties in this case and in Re B , that the ‘relevant information’ which P needs to be able to understand, retain, and use and weigh, is as follows: (i) Information and images (including videos) which you share on the internet or through social media could be shared more widely, including with people you don’t know , without you knowing or being able to stop it; (ii) It is possible to limit the sharing of personal information or images (and videos) by using ‘privacy and location settings’ on some internet and social media sites; [see paragraph below]; (iii) If you place material or images (including videos) on social media sites which are rude or offensive, or share those images, other people might be upset or offended; [see paragraph below]; (iv) Some people you meet or communicate with (‘talk to’) online, who you don’t otherwise know, may not be who they say they are (‘they may disguise, or lie about, themselves’); someone who calls themselves a ‘friend’ on social media may not be friendly; (v) Some people you meet or communicate with (‘talk to’) on the internet or through social media, who you don’t otherwise know, may pose a risk to you; they may lie to you, or exploit or take advantage of you sexually, financially, emotionally and/or physically; they may want to cause you harm; (vi) If you look at or share extremely rude or offensive images, messages or videos online you may get into trouble with the police, because you may have committed a crime; [see paragraph below]. With regard to the test above, I would like to add the following points to assist in its interpretation and application: ..."

Re B (Capacity: Social Media: Care and Contact) (2019) EWCOP 3

Social media and sexual relations

"By this judgment, I set out my conclusions in relation to a range of capacity questions on issues relevant to Miss B’s life, including her capacity: (i) To litigate in these proceedings...; (ii) To manage her property and affairs...; (iii) To decide where she resides...; (iv) To decide on her package of care...; (v) To decide with whom she has contact...; (vi) To use the internet and communicate by social media; (specifically, it is agreed that the question is ‘whether Miss B has capacity to make a decision to use social media for the purposes of developing or maintaining connections with others’)...; (vii) To consent to sexual relations... It is clear that the information relevant to the decision in this area includes: (i) the sexual nature and character of the act of sexual intercourse, the mechanics of the act; (ii) the reasonably foreseeable consequences of sexual intercourse, namely pregnancy; (iii) the opportunity to say no; i.e. to choose whether or not to engage in it and the capacity to decide whether to give or withhold consent to sexual intercourse. (iv) that there are health risks involved, particularly the acquisition of sexually transmitted and transmissible infections; (v) that the risks of sexually transmitted infection can be reduced by the taking of precautions such as the use of a condom."

Re M: A v Z (2018) EWCOP 4

COP bias

"This matter concerns an appeal from the order of HHJ Roberts made on 18 July 2018 in Court of Protection (COP) proceedings concerning M. The appellants are M's mother and father in law who have the care of X, M's son age 12. ... Mr Simblet relies on four grounds of appeal: (1) There was apparent bias, in that the judge stated her intention in the exchange between the judge and the legal representatives, in the absence of the parties, to decide the application consistent with decisions made in different proceedings. (2) The judge wrongly felt constrained to reach a decision that would be consistent with a decision she had reached in different proceedings. (3) There was a material irregularity, in that the Judge took into account material from different proceedings, and the [paternal grandparents] within the COP proceedings were unable to properly know the case against them or that they had to meet. (4) In reaching her decision the judge failed to identify or give sufficient weight to factors that were relevant to M's best interests."

Re M: AB v HT (2018) EWCOP 2

Declaration of non-marriage in English law

"These complex and difficult proceedings in the Court of Protection concern a 37-year-old woman, hereafter referred to as M, who (as I have found, for reasons set out below) at present lacks capacity by virtue of a combination of psychotic illness and acquired brain injury. The parties to the proceedings are the applicant, M's father, hereafter referred to as AB; her aunt, hereafter referred to as HT; the local authority for the area where HT, and currently M, live, namely the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham; and a man hereafter referred to as MS, with whom M went through a religious ceremony of marriage in 2013. A dispute has arisen concerning a number of issues about her past, present and future which has necessitated a lengthy and unusual fact-finding hearing. This judgment sets out my conclusions on the disputed matters of fact, together with an analysis as to her capacity, and orders made following my findings."

Re P (Sexual Relations and Contraception): A Local Authority v P (2018) EWCOP 10

Sex and covert contraception

"This judgment in long-running proceedings involving a vulnerable young woman, hereafter referred to as 'P', addresses difficult issues concerning her sexual relationships and the covert insertion of a contraceptive device. ... I shall address these issues in the following order: (1) Capacity - general principles. (2) P's capacity other than sexual relations. (3) P's capacity to consent to sexual relations. (4) Best interests: general principles. (5) Best interests: contraception. (6) Best interests: covert treatment (6) Best interests: sexual relationships and supervision. (7) Further issues arising from the draft order." ... Given the serious infringement of rights involved in the covert insertion of a contraceptive device, it is in my judgement highly probable that, in most, if not all, cases, professionals faced with a decision whether to take that step will conclude that it is appropriate to apply to the court to facilitate a comprehensive analysis of best interests, with P having the benefit of legal representation and independent expert advice.

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