Man was ‘not in his right mind’ when he punched psychiatrist
A mentally ill inmate already serving a three-year prison sentence for a spate of burglaries, was given a conditional discharge yesterday for punching a psychiatrist in the face.
Tracyston Mallory, 26, of Boundary Crescent, Devonshire was charged with assaulting psychiatrist Dr Jesus Asiain, a locum at Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute on January 18.
The incident occurred when he advised the patient to continue in-house rehabilitation treatment. When he recommended six weeks of continued care in the hospital’s Devon Lodge facility, the defendant became agitated.
The court heard that he said “he didn’t want to go there” and that “he would rather go to jail” before he punched the psychiatrist twice on the left side of the face and once on his arm.
Crown counsel Nicole Smith said the victim sustained swelling and bruising as a result of the injury.
The defendant was restrained and later arrested and he openly admitted to police that he did it to get time in prison and said he was guilty in court again yesterday.
Asked if he had anything to say he replied: “I wasn’t in my right mind and I was heavily medicated under Section Ten at the time.”
Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner, who imposed the three-year prison term handed down in April for the burglaries, said he has already heard the reports that indicated “this man has serious mental health issues”.
Mallory was sentenced in April after he admitted stealing liquor and jewellery worth $4,770 from homes in Devonshire between January 25 and February 4.
Mr Warner, who has long expressed concerns over the lack of facilities for mentally ill prisoners, lamented the issue in court again.
“At the end of the day he was sentenced to imprisonment with treatment so the court is well aware of his mental condition,” said Mr Warner.
“I don’t want to repeat all of that again, but this case represents all that I’ve lamented before on the lack of facilities for mentally ill prisoners.”
The defendant’s record as a repeat offender with a history of mental illness and addiction was also cited.
Said Mr Warner: “I’m not an expert, but one of the problems is that when these matters are not dealt with adequately from the beginning it leaves it open to all sorts of situations.
“I find it very difficult for somebody whose ‘not in his right mind’ as he says, and then they repeat offences. And then when they’re brought before the courts they say they’re ‘not in their right mind’.
“But there is no doubt that this man needs some mental health treatment. The reason for his assault on the doctor is that he is disputing the type of treatment that was offered. They wanted to send him to a treatment facility and he wanted to go back to Westgate Correctional Facility. But he’s actually questioning what type of treatment that he should be given, which I understand is not unusual.”
On the ongoing issue of coping with the lack of facilities for mentally ill prisoners, he said: “In any event, things haven’t changed. All I would like to say is that these problems are becoming more and more prevalent. A system is developing and the courts are actively working to correct this situation. It would seem that we’re getting closer to a mental health court to deal with these types of situations.”
Mr Warner concluded: “It is clear that until he gets the appropriate treatment he’s going to keep on repeating it. I’m giving him a conditional discharge with the condition that the defendant should continue to avail himself to all mental health treatment being provided whilst in custody.”
When Mallory was sentenced last month, the court heard that his previous convictions for break-ins date back to 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Once again Mr Warner said at that time: “Government is in the process of actively pursuing a mental health court.” But he said: “That’s going to take some time to come to fruition.”
And he concluded then: “That still leaves us the question of where we’re going to put them.”
The defendant’s incarceration will be followed by another three years’ probation.