A woman who assaulted a fellow patient in the Lakeview psychiatric unit of Naas Hospital has been found not guilty due to insanity at the time of the assault.
At Naas District Court on January 24, Judge Desmond Zaidan heard psychiatric evidence to the effect that the woman was unwell at the time and was not aware of what she was doing during the assault on March 1 2017.
The Court heard that she was having a smoke at the unit with another patient around 8pm when she assaulted the patient. It was an “unprovoked” attack, which included pushing a cigarette into her companion’s face. She then spat at the other patient.
The Court was told that the injured party had no long term injuries.
Tim Kennelly, solicitor, representing the defendant, said she was pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
Dr Lisa McLoughlin, a consultant psychiatrist in the Central Mental Hospital, said she had met the defendant for the first time the previous week.
She had studied the notes and her file and interviewed the woman, who was admitted as an involuntary patient to the Central Mental Hospital.
The Court was told that the woman had previously shown signs of unusual behaviour including kissing strangers and irritability.
On March 1 she and the injured party were quite friendly before the incident.
Dr McLoughlin concluded that the woman was insane or incapable of knowing what she was doing at the time of the March 1 assault.
Neither did the defendant recall what she was doing.
Garda Inspector Oliver Henry said the State were not offering any evidence of the woman’s mental health. He accepted Dr McLoughlin’s evidence and the defence argument that the woman was insane at the time of the incident.
Dr McLoughlin told the Court that the woman’s mental condition had improved due to medication. She had “improved remarkably.”
Judge Zaidan said he was concerned what might happen in the future if she did not take her medicine.
He accepted the plea and did not convict her.
Following the not guilty decision, Judge Zaidan remanded her in custody to the Central Mental Hospital for an initial fourteen days. That remand period can be extended for up to six months by the Courts.
A review board will look at her case and determine if and when she is fit to be released into society.
The woman, who was present in Court, said she was now much better.
Last year, in the District Court, the woman’s mother thanked the judge for helping to get her daughter into the Central Mental Hospital.