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Homeless man with mental health problems jailed

A man with mental health problems was jailed for one month to help him receive the shelter and treatment he needs.

Dwayne Hassan, 28, was also sentenced during Magistrates’ Court yesterday to one year’s probation after his imprisonment to ensure continued treatment.

Hassan, of no known address, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to using threatening behaviour towards Gayle Ventures and wilful property damage.

The court heard that the incident, which took place on October 25, 2017 in Hamilton Parish, led to $234 worth of damage to two plastic chairs and a water drainage system that belonged to Ms Ventures.

He at first pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared in court for them on March 14, 2018, but switched his plea on December 9 last year when a psychological assessment and drug assessment were ordered.

Michael Scott, for the defence, said that his client struggled with drug use and mental health problems.

He said he attempted to have Hassan seek therapy at treatment centres in Bermuda and in the US but said proper living arrangements could not be made for him.

Mr Scott added he was concerned that releasing Hassan into the public without a place to stay could put his physical well-being and his mental stability at risk.

He also said: “As a former MP I know that the housing situation is difficult, but there needs to be a culture of joining housing with treatment.”

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe said the offences earned a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment but he was concerned that this length of time would be too extreme.

He instead jailed him for 30 days and adjourned the case for a probation review on February 10.

Mr Wolffe added that probation would be upheld on the conditions that Hassan stay away from drugs and alcohol, submit to random drug tests, participate in psychological evaluations and programmes deemed necessary by the Department of Court Services and visit court services whenever required to do so.

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