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 Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought

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PostSubject: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:34 pm

RTE News reports that Shell to Sea campaigner, Maura Harrington, best known for her hunger strike last year, has been sentenced to 28 days in prison by Belmullet District Court. She was found guilty of assaulting a Garda and a separate public order charge from a previous date. Owing to her refusal to sign the bond she was also held to be in contempt of court and thus sentenced to a further two days, to run concurrently.

Judge Devins also recommended that Ms Harrington receive psychiatric assessment.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0311/corrib.html
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:50 pm

I'll comment in more depth on this later.

But I must say that it's interesting that Judge Devins thinks that a psychiatric evaluation is warranted. Most judges would have that done prior to the trial, if not prior to the sentencing, if it was really warranted.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:56 am

johnfás wrote:
RTE News reports that Shell to Sea campaigner, Maura Harrington, best known for her hunger strike last year, has been sentenced to 28 days in prison by Belmullet District Court. She was found guilty of assaulting a Garda and a separate public order charge from a previous date. Owing to her refusal to sign the bond she was also held to be in contempt of court and thus sentenced to a further two days, to run concurrently.

Judge Devins also recommended that Ms Harrington receive psychiatric assessment.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0311/corrib.html
There's a waste of a perfectly good assessment.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:07 am

Hmmm, poor woman. I think Maura Harrington took some of my courses many years ago when life was good and new for her and without any prospect of such a dreadful experience for her and her ideals. Be kind. It is an awful outcome in someone's life.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:56 am

Hermes wrote:
I'll comment in more depth on this later.

But I must say that it's interesting that Judge Devins thinks that a psychiatric evaluation is warranted. Most judges would have that done prior to the trial, if not prior to the sentencing, if it was really warranted.

It would never be done prior to trial - or hearing in this case, unless there was a question of fitness to plead, though it might be done prior to sentencing.

Unfortunately this is another one of those court reports where we don't get the full story. Did she refuse to sign a bail bond - in which case she had no choice but to go to prison, or did she refuse to sign a peace bond - and create a situation where she ended up in prison. What's clear here is that prison was her choice.

Judges routinely order psychiatric assessments.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:48 am

I made some relevant comments on the P.ie thread, here...

Yeah, I know, it's pretty uncivilized over there, but sometimes you just get tempted to wade in, knowing you'll hop out again soon after.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:53 am

Once upon a time in Mother Russia psychiatric assessments were the order of the day for dissidents.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:58 am

Sure why would the media report the facts of the case in any detail when they can concentrate on the judge asking for an psychiatric assessment. There's a lot worse in this country that havn't received half the abuse.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:30 am

The tendency to commit dissidents to psychiatric hospitals was perfected in the Soviet union, particulalrly by andropov, who was for a time gen. sec (translation: Big Boss)

There is a talk at UC Berkeley, home of free speech, next tuesday on this
http://events.berkeley.edu/?event_ID=17593&date=2009-03-17&tab=all_events

In the meantime, I will be offering my expertise - the most books and articles in the components of cog. sci. in the world - to "shell to Sea" as an expert witness to combat what I expect are the imminent committal proceddings for Maura.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:41 pm

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
Sure why would the media report the facts of the case in any detail when they can concentrate on the judge asking for an psychiatric assessment. There's a lot worse in this country that havn't received half the abuse.

In fairness most Rte reports are only five lines long. But if a report appeared in one of the papers today it would be great ifsomeone could link to it. I can't from here.

Maybe a mod would consider merging this with the newmaura harrington thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:49 pm

Kate P wrote:
In fairness most Rte reports are only five lines long. But if a report appeared in one of the papers today it would be great if someone could link to it. I can't from here.

The Irish Times wrote:
A PROMINENT Shell to Sea activist was directed to undergo psychiatric assessment by a District Court judge after she was sentenced to 28 days’ imprisonment for assaulting a garda.


At yesterday’s sitting of Belmullet District Court, Judge Mary Devins sentenced Maura Harrington, Tullaghanbawn, Geeala, Co Mayo, to jail for the assault on Garda Eamon Berry, which she described as a “despicable show of utter contempt”..

When Harrington was led away from the court, her supporters in the body of the court gave her a round of applause.

Harrington, a retired primary school principal, had denied the assault, which took place during a protest when Shell personnel attempted to erect a portacabin at Pollathomas pier in north Mayo on June 11th, 2007.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0312/1224242736753.html


Last edited by johnfás on Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:52 pm

There is a court report from the local Mayo paper here:

http://machinenation.forumakers.com/local-and-regional-f21/maura-harrington-arrives-at-mountjoy-t2118.htm#74216

http://www.advertiser.ie/mayo/article/7325
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:19 pm

Does a Judge have the power or jurisdiction to order a psychiatric assessment after sentencing??? If so, to what end???

The judge may be flexing her muscles here to impose her will on Ms. Harrington. It wouldn't be unusual for a District Court Judge to wildly exceed their powers in an attempt to punish what they see as "contempt of court".
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:34 pm

Tis my opinion that Devins is more capable at assessing mental issues than she is at dealing with law.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:00 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Does a Judge have the power or jurisdiction to order a psychiatric assessment after sentencing??? If so, to what end???

The judge may be flexing her muscles here to impose her will on Ms. Harrington. It wouldn't be unusual for a District Court Judge to wildly exceed their powers in an attempt to punish what they see as "contempt of court".

I can well believe it Zhou, but what can the punter do when it happens?
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:00 pm

You can appeal to the Circuit Court. But then again, do we actually know if there was an order to have her receive a psychiatric assessment? RTE uses the word recommended whereas the Irish Times uses the word directed. There is a vast difference between those two words so one would want to know which it was.

Beyond that, I do not know the jurisdiction of the District Court in respect of ordering such an assessment and I don't have time at the moment to seek out the answer. However, I would hazard that it probably does have such jurisdiction.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:58 pm

I think the proper route is judicial review but who can afford it? There should be Judicially administered censure on Judges who exceed their jurisdiction in violation of people's rights. It should be investigated on foot of a complaint without cost to the complainant. A f_cking psychiatric assessment? The woman strikes me as a bit nuts but a judge has no right to invade her privacy like that unless it is necessary to allow the judge to deal with the case at hand. With that said, I agree that the reporting is ambiguous.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:17 am

Judges regularly direct/order/request that individuals receive psychiatric assessment and the intention is that the defendant/prisoner would then be treated or receive care according to his/her needs while in prison.

If Maura Harrington had been remanded in custody at any stage rather than getting bail as I assume she did (was this the first time the case was listed?), it's likely the judge would have ordered the assessment at that point.

(I don't know the background to this but I imagine there would have been no necessity to remand her in custody and that any such move would have been easily and successfully challenged in the High Court.)

I think it's fair to remember that Ms Harrington is not a young woman. She has also been on hunger strike which is of itself an extreme action quite apart from any effect such deprivation or the experience of same might have had on her. To my mind it would be grossly negligent of the judge not to request such an assessment and I imagine there would be complaints from other quarters if such a direction/order/request were not made.

Often there are suggestions or requests made by the defence and sometimes even the prosecution that psychiatric assessments be carried out.

I disagree wholeheartedly with your suggestion Zhou that the judge is arbitrarily or even maliciously interfering with Maura Harrington's privacy by 'punishing' her. I would argue that she is acting responsibly while she is dealing with the sentencing of the case at hand.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:01 pm

Kate P wrote:
Judges regularly direct/order/request that individuals receive psychiatric assessment and the intention is that the defendant/prisoner would then be treated or receive care according to his/her needs while in prison.

If Maura Harrington had been remanded in custody at any stage rather than getting bail as I assume she did (was this the first time the case was listed?), it's likely the judge would have ordered the assessment at that point.

(I don't know the background to this but I imagine there would have been no necessity to remand her in custody and that any such move would have been easily and successfully challenged in the High Court.)

I think it's fair to remember that Ms Harrington is not a young woman. She has also been on hunger strike which is of itself an extreme action quite apart from any effect such deprivation or the experience of same might have had on her. To my mind it would be grossly negligent of the judge not to request such an assessment and I imagine there would be complaints from other quarters if such a direction/order/request were not made.

Often there are suggestions or requests made by the defence and sometimes even the prosecution that psychiatric assessments be carried out.

I disagree wholeheartedly with your suggestion Zhou that the judge is arbitrarily or even maliciously interfering with Maura Harrington's privacy by 'punishing' her. I would argue that she is acting responsibly while she is dealing with the sentencing of the case at hand.

You clearly know more about this stuff than me Kate. I withdraw my suggestion.

I took the OP to suggest that the judge handed down a sentence and then ordered an assessment. Is that normal? Or is it more likely the case that this assessment was ordered pending sentencing.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:25 pm

As Maura Harrington is already in Mountjoy serving her term, it seems unlikely that the assessment will have a bearing on her sentence.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:29 pm

Psychiatric assessment is pretty routine, though very underfunded, for all people incarcerated at both Mountjoy and the Dóchas Centre (formally Mountjoy Women's Prison) anyway. They do it in an attempt to have adequate services in place once people are released, though obviously the whole thing is underfunded.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:36 pm

johnfás wrote:
Psychiatric assessment is pretty routine, though very underfunded, for all people incarcerated at both Mountjoy and the Dóchas Centre (formally Mountjoy Women's Prison) anyway. They do it in an attempt to have adequate services in place once people are released, though obviously the whole thing is underfunded.

For it to have proper use and meaning, surely it should be carried out before sentencing? I would imagine that few people locked up in the Joy would be in the best mental state. Women apparently find incarceration extremely difficult to cope with.

I was very pleased to here the other day that jailing poor people who don't have a television licence is going to stop. On a par with hanging people for stealing food in the 19th century.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:47 pm

cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
Psychiatric assessment is pretty routine, though very underfunded, for all people incarcerated at both Mountjoy and the Dóchas Centre (formally Mountjoy Women's Prison) anyway. They do it in an attempt to have adequate services in place once people are released, though obviously the whole thing is underfunded.

For it to have proper use and meaning, surely it should be carried out before sentencing? I would imagine that few people locked up in the Joy would be in the best mental state. Women apparently find incarceration extremely difficult to cope with.

I was very pleased to here the other day that jailing poor people who don't have a television licence is going to stop. On a par with hanging people for stealing food in the 19th century.

Jailing people who have failed to get a tv licence while having a tv is nowhere near being on a par with jailing people for stealing food. Tv is discretionary, a luxury; food is not.

Re psychiatric assessments: the defendant is innocent and is not in the system until either sentenced or remanded in custody. It is only in those circumstances after a determination of some kind has been made and the defendant is in a remand or other prison that it makes sense to order the assessment.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:51 pm

Irish Times Story today (13/03/09)

It is normal to order psychiatric assessment after conviction but pending sentencing. I have heard and seen that. I am not sure what the purpose of an assessment is after sentencing. In fairness, the Judge may just be worried that this woman will do herself harm. She has already said she is willing to die for her cause!

From today's IT:

"At yesterday’s sitting of Belmullet District Court, Judge Mary Devins sentenced Maura Harrington, Tullaghanbawn, Geeala, Co Mayo, to jail for the assault on Garda Eamon Berry, which she described as a “despicable show of utter contempt”.
....

At yesterday’s sitting Judge Devins said she was satisfied beyond all doubt that the prosecution had proved its case and convicted Harrington.

In sentencing her, Judge Devins told Ms Harrington she was less inclined to believe in her passion for her cause having “witnessed the enjoyment she seems to get in being in the public limelight”.

Judge Devins also fined her €1,000 and ordered her to pay €1,000 to the Garda benevolent fund. Harrington was also found guilty of a separate public order charge, which occurred on April 21st, 2007, when President Mary McAleese visited Belmullet.

She was fined €500 and bound to the peace for 12 months. After refusing to sign the bond, Harrington was found in contempt of court and sentenced to two days’ imprisonment to run concurrent with the 28-day sentence."

The Judge's comments seemed unusually personal for a Judge who thinks that the accused might need psychiatric help. Lastly, I don't think the Judge has any jurisdiction to order a contribution to the Garda Benevolent fund. Weren't these "poor box" orders deemed illegal by the Supreme Court? Johnfas, Kate P?

Hermes has suggested the Judge reads Indymedia. Enough said.
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PostSubject: Re: Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea) Jailed - Psychiatric Assessment Sought   Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:06 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I would imagine that few people locked up in the Joy would be in the best mental state. Women apparently find incarceration extremely difficult to cope with.

The people incarcerated in the Dóchas Centre are not incarcerated in the conventional prison sense of the word as they are in the Men's prison. In the Men's prison they are kept in a cell for 18 hours of the day with a bucket to deficate in which they must then share a cell with throughout their evening meal and their night's sleep. In the Dóchas centre they are detained in their rooms for a far lesser period each day and every room is en suite and includes cable television. Television seemingly lowers the risk of a convict attempting suicide. No such luck in the men's prison I am afraid. The difference between each both in terms of the mode of incarceration and the facilities afforded are stark.


Last edited by johnfás on Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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