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A mentally unfit man who has been granted bail is still "languishing" in prison because a health trust cannot provide him with suitable accommodation, a court has heard.  (stock photo)

A mentally unfit man who has been granted bail is still "languishing" in prison because a health trust cannot provide him with suitable accommodation, a court has heard. (stock photo)

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A mentally unfit man who has been granted bail is still "languishing" in prison because a health trust cannot provide him with suitable accommodation, a court has heard. (stock photo)

A mentally unfit man who has been granted bail is still "languishing" in prison because a health trust cannot provide him with suitable accommodation, a court has heard.

Although Frank McGirr (66) of Shanliss Road, Stewartstown, has been granted bail, he cannot return to his home, and given his lack of capacity and requirement for care and supervision, defence lawyers say the onus falls on the Southern Trust to provide alternative arrangements.

But having conducted an assessment, the Trust does not believe McGirr's health is any worse than a year ago - a position the defence describe as "quite impossible".

Currently, McGirr is accused of a number of matters, including harassing his neighbours.

He was on a Probation Order for other offending which has since been revoked, as his remand in custody prevented this being completed.

Due to lack of capacity, the harassment matters are to transfer to the Crown Court, the statutory venue in such instances.

Dungannon Magistrates Court was previously advised that McGirr was assessed by two senior consultants and found mentally unfit in November 2020, leading District Judge Michael Ranaghan to remark: "Prison is not the place for this man given his conditions. It is wholly inappropriate."

However, at the most recent sitting it emerged the issue is no further forward, and Mr McGirr remains in custody.

Defence barrister Blaine Nugent said that judicial review proceedings at the High Court are under way against the Southern Trust, with a pre-hearing taking place last week.

Mr Nugent said: "We have made the case the Trust are under a significant onus and duty to have him housed somewhere, because frankly, it isn't good enough that he's languishing in custody. He has been granted bail and no address has been provided, given the significant care needs he is subject to, which includes a full-time care package."

He explained the Trust conducted an assessment of Mr McGirr earlier this month and "found no difference since the same time last year".

"With the greatest respect, that's frankly quite impossible, because he's now in custody and his mental health has deteriorated further, to the extent medical professionals provided very detailed reports on capacity," he said.

"Both cannot be correct and either the Trust is mistaken as to their responsibilities or the medical professionals and my client's current location are wrong."

Belfast Telegraph


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