Capacity decision as to whether 'Tony', who is deaf, can make decisions about his residence, his care and his use of the internet and social media where it has been found he is accessing images of child sexual abuse.
Tony was born with cerebral palsy, is deaf and fractured his spine in 2017, since when he has been a wheelchair user. During childhood he had not been schooled with deaf peers and though he had developed sign language it is thought this slowed his learning development. He is now in his mid fifties and in 2014 staff discovered he had been accessing images of child sexual abuse and continued to do so. The issue was whether he should be moved to Placement 2 a residential care home exclusively for male adults at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system as a result of their offending behaviour, but only those diagnosed with a learning disability could be admitted.
In this judgment, Katie Gollop KC, sitting as Deputy High Court Judge, reviews the expert evidence before concluding Tony does lack capacity and that his impairment amounted to a functional learning disability, which is the result of
"stunted mental development, occurring before the age of 18 years, as a result of prolonged deprivation of communication, education, social learning and life experience, in combination with institutionalisation. That impairment renders Tony unable to understand why accessing images of child sexual abuse is wrong, the potential consequences for him if the police are involved, and the harm caused to children directly and to wider society indirectly by his actions when he is allowed unrestricted, unsupervised internet access."
She authorises a resumption of the transition to Placement 2, despite Tony's hopes this will mean he gets his internet access back, and further interim orders around access but leaves the final decisions to a later best interests hearing.
Read the judgment on the National Archive
Case summaries on every Court of Protection case & other relevant decisions with links to the full judgment where available.
Support the Hub
This site is free to access but if you find it useful then please consider a contribution by way of support for our work. Click here to contribute.
Sign up for our free email alert
We do not share your details with any third parties and you can unsubscribe at any time
More from Bath Publishing