Mentally ill man in cells with no trial

Saturday August 17, 2019 Written by Published in Crime

A man charged with attacking a woman in church will have to wait for final medical assessments before he can be released from custody.


Ricky Carlson, who is mentally unwell, has been kept at the prison in “appalling” conditions with just a bucket as a toilet.

He last appeared on June 22, where a 10-page psychiatric assessment showed he was not fit to stand trial, nor competent to enter any plea. He is charged with one count of wounding with intent to injure and assault on a female.

Yesterday, he appeared before Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams, represented by defence counsel Mark Short.

He has been in custody for four months and Short wanted him bailed.

Short provided a full specialist medical report recommending the defendant comply with treatment as prescribed. If Carlson refused oral medication, he would have it injected.

“He will need close monitoring by the mental health team, including oversight and medication compliance, and psychological input to assist him from relapse,” Short continued. “He must abstain from alcohol and any illicit drugs. If he doesn’t comply, he will return to prison.”

Carlson’s parents that they wanted to take him home, as they were appalled with the prison’s living conditions.

“The father of the defendant would like him to be released. So they can take the defendant home, they have raised concerns on the living conditions up in the prison, have received documentation and letters saying they were appalled by the fact he had to use a bucket for a toilet.”

Short said he met with the defendant in prison two days ago, and for the first time Carlson appeared to understand what was happening.

“I believe he is stabilised now, has been undergoing treatment. Its positive that the family is supporting and willing to comply with the conditions.”

However, Police prosecutor senior sergeant Fairoa Tarao opposed bail, saying it was such a serious charge that the victim needed an operation.

The victim and her family were still in shock, he said, and it was too early to have defendant to be on bail.

Noting the medical recommendation, Tarao said he would need confirmation that medical officers would be there to monitor Carlson.

Justice of the Peace Williams advised Short that there is a process to follow, in order to bail Carlson.

“I agree with prosecution, once the paper work on the treatment is done, we can meet in chambers and look into it. It is essential that all is in place. Glad to see family support, and he could be released once all the conditions are put in place,” Williams said.

Williams said Director of Psychiatric Services at the Ministry of Health Cook Islands Dr Rangi Fariu needed to make the final recommendations and make an assessment.

The matter is adjourned another week.


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