Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Brady hearing costs NHS £200,000

Ian Brady's appearance at his tribunal marked the first time he had been seen in public since the 1980s
Ian Brady brought a Mental Health Tribunal against Ashworth Hospital, Merseyside, where he is being held (Handout/PA)

An NHS trust is to pay £200,000 legal fees for the failed tribunal brought by Moors Murderer Ian Brady.

The 75-year-old, whose own costs for lawyers of around £250,000 were picked up by the taxpayer through Legal Aid, brought a Mental Health Tribunal against Ashworth Hospital, Merseyside, where he is being held.

The child killer brought the case after a three-year battle to convince the authorities that he is not mentally ill and should be moved to a prison.

The total cost of his failed bid to the taxpayer now stands at around £450,000.

Families of his victims criticised the tribunal in June for giving Brady a platform to "grandstand" and the week-long hearing was described as a "circus" as the paranoid schizophrenic killer gave evidence. The tribunal ruled that he should stay at Ashworth, where he has been held since 1985.

Mersey Care NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, confirmed it will have to pay a £200,000 legal bill, after disputing Brady's claim that he should be moved back into the prison system.

The tribunal was the first time Brady had been seen in public since the 1980s when he was taken back to Saddleworth Moor in the search for the bodies of two of his five victims. It was the only time he had spoken in public since being jailed for life in 1966.

Ray Walker, executive director of nursing and secure services at Mersey Care NHS Trust, said: "The Mental Health Review Tribunal process is part of the legal system and patients detained under the Mental Health Act are entitled to one at least every three years.

"Patients are entitled to legal representation. Consequently, the trust must also be legally represented. Such representation, both for the trust and the patient, is necessary whether the proceedings take place in public or in private. In this case the costs, which total around £200,000, are no different as a result of the tribunal being held in public.

"We feel we should point out that the hospital always opposed this hearing being held in public to protect this vulnerable patient both from the media spotlight and ensuing highly critical coverage."

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