AC v Partnerships in Care Ltd [2012] UKUT 450 (AAC), [2012] MHLO 163

AC appealed against the tribunal's rejection of his application for a notification under s74 that, if subject to a s37/41 hospital order rather than a s47/49 prison transfer direction, he would be entitled to a conditional discharge. (1) The tribunal failed to explain why it rejected Dr Kahtan's independent evidence which supported discharge: (a) although it stated that the RC had more experience of the patient, this is not of itself a reason for preferring evidence but rather is the background to almost every case, and it does not always follow that greater knowledge means greater insight; (b) the tribunal's criticisms of Dr Kahtan's evidence on the link between the index offences and AC's mental state did not necessarily undermine his views on discharge. (2) The tribunal was right not to consider the conditions which might be imposed by the Parole Board (and any consequent diminution of risk on release) and only to consider conditions possible with a conditional discharge: (a) the tribunal's statutory function is limited to considering discharge from the scope of the Act; (b) it is true that the tribunal should take into account the practical reality, as in a case where release into the community is impossible and prison is the only alternative (Abu-Rideh), but this reasoning does not apply to a case such as AC's because it is unknown whether the Parole Board will release or what conditions it might impose.

Case cited

  • R (Abu-Rideh) v MHRT [2004] EWHC 1999 (Admin)The claimant was a foreign national detained under the Immigration Act 1971 as a suspected terrorist, then transferred to hospital under s48/49 MHA 1983; the MHRT proceeded on the basis that the only realistic alternative was return to prison, where he would relapse; he argued that the MHRT ought to have considered the question of discharge by reference to discharge into the community, even though this was an impossibility; the Tribunal had been correct in their approach.§

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