A patient (B) sought judicial review of a decision not to discharge him from detention on the basis that a nurse had been present at his mental health review tribunal, without his agreement.
B was detained in conditions of high security after being convicted of rape and false imprisonment. He had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The tribunal ordered that a nurse be present at his tribunal hearing and, subsequently, decided against discharge. B sought review of the decision on the basis that (i) there had been procedural impropriety in the form of bias that resulted in unfairness or apparent unfairness and (ii) his risk could be managed by conditional discharge and the tribunal had given inadequate reasons for its decision.
The judge found that the mental health review tribunal rules gave the tribunal a wide discretion in the way it conducted the hearing and that included having the power to allow a nurse to be present to hear B’s evidence. This did not result in procedural unfairness, the tribunal had noted B’s objection to the nurse and had heard his submissions on it. B did not take the opportunity to speak to the panel alone, as was offered to him.
Further, the tribunal had considered conditional discharge and had rejected it for reasons it had fully explained. This decision was within the range of reasonable decisions the tribunal could make and the court would not interfere. The patient’s application for review was dismissed.