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Judge's ruling on brain-damaged man

A brain-damaged man who has complained about being harassed by social workers and does not want to live in a nursing home has the mental capacity to make decisions about his care and financial affairs, a High Court judge has ruled.

The 59-year-old man, who also has diabetes and is partially blind, was ready to be released from hospital after his latest stay, said Mr Justice Cobb following a hearing in the Court of Protection.

A health authority had asked for court rulings about the man's capacity to make decisions relating to his future care.

Mr Justice Cobb concluded that he had the capacity to make decisions about his on-going medical treatment, future residence and care and management of his property and affairs.

The judge said the man had studied physics at university and had run a business in south-west London.

He had been diagnosed with diabetes about a decade ago. Then in 2007, he had been the subject of a violent criminal assault, been repeatedly kicked in the head, suffered skull fractures and brain damage.

The judge said the man had made some "unwise decisions" about medical treatment and home living conditions in the past, b ut he said they did not demonstrate a lack of capacity but were reflective of the man's "somewhat challenging personality".

Mr Justice Cobb said the man had said he never wanted to set foot in a nursing home. And he had complained about social workers visiting him in hospital - describing their visits as "harassment".

The judge said there was reason to believe that the man's "resistance" to social work intervention was probably founded on a long-standing grievance about the compulsory purchase of his home - prior to his head injury.

He said he had concluded that the man did have the mental capacity to make decisions, b ut he said it was important that the man had "effective support" and a "closely-monitored care plan".

Detail of the case has emerged in a written ruling by the judge.

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and judges analyse issues relating to vulnerable people.

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