Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Clarke detained wrongfully 107 days. Legal detention started yesterday.

Clarke detained wrongfully 107 days.Legal detention started yesterday

out·ra·geous adjective \(ˌ)au̇t-ˈrā-jəs\
: very bad or wrong in a way that causes anger : too bad to be accepted or allowed: very strange or unusual : surprising or shocking

Full Definition of OUTRAGEOUS
1   a :  exceeding the limits of what is usual
     b :  not conventional or matter-of-fact :  fantastic
2   :  violentunrestrained
3   a :  going beyond all standards of what is right or decent outrageous
 disregard of human rights>
     b :  deficient in propriety or good taste <outrageous language> <outrageous manners>
— out·ra·geous·ly adverb
— out·ra·geous·ness noun

 The above definition relates to the information relayed to Mr. Stephen Clarke by his Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Ann McDonnell, at the Mater Hospital, Belfast, on Tuesday.

 Clarke says that Dr. Mc Donnell informed him he had been “wrongfully detained” initially and again a second time when he was refused permission to return to court on the judge’s instruction after 28 days. On the second occasion, Dr. McDonnell claimed he was “too ill” to appear.

 During his wrongful detention Mr. Clarke was force medicated. 

 Mr. Clarke was arrested in June for mounting a sculpture in Belfast in protest at being denied access to his children following a marital breakdown and their exposure to microwaves / wi-fi in the classroom. His arrest was recorded in the Belfast Daily Mirror newspaper where he was identified three times as a “peace protester”. Clarke is unaware why he was identified by reporter Jilly Beattie. “I don’t know why I was identified as a protester because she never spoke to me,” said Clarke.

 Rather that being taken before a judge to answer misdemeanor charges relating to climbing the sculpture, Clarke was committed to the Mater psychiatric facility on the Crumlin Road, Belfast.

  On Tuesday Dr. McDonnell told Clarke that he had been wrongfully detained (and Medicated) and that he legal detention “starts today” with the possibility of a Tribunal in the next six or seven weeks. Clarke reported that McDonnell told him she had been consistent with him all along to which Clarke replied, “Yes, you’ve been consistently wrong.” McDonnell explained that she would try to have the tribunal moved forward so that she could attend.

 Clarke had originally been scheduled for a psychiatric tribunal last week but it was deferred until Friday 26 Sept. on the grounds that proper paperwork had not been forwarded for Mr. Clarke to have time to prepare a defense. The tribunal members were only identified their surnames as Dr. Brennan, Mrs. Chamberlain and Mr. Johnston. 

 The recognition that Clarke had been wrongfully detained and medicated may have been prompted by enquiries to the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQAI), the group responsible for legal tribunals in Northern Ireland.  The RQAI had been asked for, and refused to release, details relating to which section of the Mental Health Act had been applied to the two times in sequence Clarke had been detained. Melinda Hornyak, project administrator, speaking on behalf of Rosaline Kelly, head of programme for the RQAI, responded, “the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act do not permit RQIA to share any personal information with anyone other than the data subject, unless there is written proof of consent to access personal data from the data subject themselves, alongside appropriate proof of identification.” Hornyak referred enquiries to the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

 The date, times, arresting officers and the terms of Mental Health Act provisions for confinement are not personal or medical information but matters of record.

 The wall of silence was made higher by Conán McManus of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.  His e-mail stipulates that communication is for the intended recipient only. No identities of tribunal members, their qualifications and information regarding Clarke’s detention were provided.

 Clarke’s hope for an early release wa quashed Tuesday when Dr. McDonnell informed him that a new tribunal would be scheduled within the next six to seven weeks. McDonnell explained that she would try to have the tribunal moved forward so that she could attend.

 According to Sue Todd of the U.K. branch of the Citizen’s Commission for Human Rights, “Mr Clarke informed me yesterday that his doctor Dr McDonnell informed him that the RQIA was involved with his case and stated his detention was illegal.  In summary Stephen Clarke was illegally detained at Mater Hospital for 107 days. Putting this in perspective, if a member of the general public or indeed a member of any other profession detained someone against their will for 107 days they would more than likely be charged with kidnapping with the result of a custodial sentence.”

 Importantly, Ms. Todd commented on Clarke’s mental state, explaining that with a background in nursing she is qualified to make the observation that “After having spoken with Mr Clarke several times it is obvious he is completely compus mentus.”

 “I am from a nursing background and have worked for many years for this organisation and deal with mental health patients daily,” she said.  “Many are poorly and their communication is hard to understand because of their illness.  Mr Clarke on the other hand had a life upset. He had been denied the right to see his children and took matters into his own hands to bring it to the attention of the public and to whomever else would listen.  I speak to him daily and this is still his major concern.  I find this an understandable reaction by a father who obviously dearly loves his children.”

 Todd also noted that Clarke is being victimized by the Northern Ireland government through the actions of the Trust which runs the Mater psychiatric unit. “Cancelling a tribunal is no light matter. Detaining someone for 107 days illegally is tantamount to kidnapping.”

 (In an unusual move, Clarke was allowed to visit a pub Monday evening. There he was confronted by individuals allegedly members of the legal profession who warned his that “he didn’t know who he was playing with”.)

John Weigel

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