Application by LA for declaration that AA lacks capacity regarding his use of social media and the internet.
AA had been subject to Court of Protection proceedings for a long time but the single issue for determination here was whether AA lacks capacity in relation to his use of the internet and social media. During 2020 and early 2021 AA had been communicating with another man online and partaking in autoerotic asphyxiation. This relationship was brought to an end by AA when the other man started asking for more explicit videos and images. AA’s social worker reported to the court that since then he had blossomed and cut down on his use of social media notably when various restrictions upon him were loosened and he was afforded the opportunity of having unsupported and unsupervised time in the community each day. Opposing that a psychiatrist reported that AA was unable to transpose an acknowledgment of risk in one situation to a different situation so still at risk of harm.
Keehan J refuses the application as, while respecting the psychiatrist’s opinion, on the basis of the evidence, he reached a different conclusion. For many months, AA had not put himself at risk of harm in his use of the internet and social media so he was satisfied that he had capacity in this area. If he is wrong in that conclusion, Keehan J also found that it was not in AA’s best interests for his electronic devices to be checked daily as they deliver no evidence of any value, afford no protection to him and were contrary to his wishes.
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