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Dismont addresses ‘ugly’ courtroom scene

A “very ugly scene” in Magistrates' Court yesterday prompted Martha Dismont, the executive director of Family Centre, to criticise “a lack of proper care and treatment of our most vulnerable population”.

Ms Dismont said she had observed “a very disconcerting scene” in the courtroom as a young man stating he was “unaware of why he was in court” was placed on remand for one week so “think about why he was in court”.

She said the move triggered “an outburst that resulted in a very ugly scene in the courtroom”.

Ms Dismont added: “The young man resisted the remand directive and was wrestled to the ground to be taken away.

“It was heart-wrenching to watch. I knew of this young man and felt that if the judge was more aware of circumstances surrounding this young man, he may have provided a different directive.

“The judge is not at fault, but professionals must take some responsibility for what occurred.”

Ms Dismont said the mêlée implied a need for recourse to the mental health court.

“The behaviour in court certainly suggested that there might have been such a need,” she said.

Her remarks came as Family Centre prepares to host a two-day conference next month on the legacy of adverse childhood experiences.

Ms Dismont said: “Vulnerable individuals are being managed in our systems every day, and it becomes a travesty that we as professionals are not keeping them out of harm's way.”

Noting the ethical and professional responsibility to “do no harm”, she added: “We did not do that today — and it is time for this situation to be corrected.”

Ugly scene: Martha Dismont (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published September 28, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 28, 2018 at 11:17 am)

Dismont addresses ‘ugly’ courtroom scene

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