Court discharges presidential order

Apete Kaisau is escorted from the High Court at Suva on Monday, December 5. Picture: IAN CHUTE

The High Court in Suva yesterday discharged a presidential order confining to St Giles a man who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murders of former Fiji Red Cross director general John Scott and his partner Gregory Scrivener in their Tamavua home in 2001.

Apete Kaisau’s application for a review and discharge of the 2003 order was called for judgment before Justice Daniel Goundar.

He had made two previous applications for review and discharge of the order in 2014 and 2015 which were heard by Justice Salesi Temo.

After hearing the applications, Justice Temo concluded the court had not been provided with detailed information of Mr Kaisau’s treatment at St Giles for schizophrenia – which resulted in delusions and hallucinations.

Justice Goundar said patients admitted to St Giles by Presidential Order could apply to the High Court to have the order discharged under the Mental Health Act 2011.

Justice Goundar said Mr Kaisau’s application was filed and upon receipt, St Giles was ordered to provide a detailed report on him.

The report was tendered by St Giles medical superintendent Dr Balram Pandit but also included the assessment of principle medical officer Dr Kiran Gaikwad.

The court was told that after his earlier applications were declined, Mr Kaisau relapsed many times because he did not take his medication.

He had threatened medical staff and there were incidents where he had been violent towards them.

Justice Goundar said the doctors who assessed him said his decision not to take his medication was likely because of his personal traits and not the illness itself.

And his perception of the medical staff was that they deserved punishment for not treating him with respect.

Dr Pandit and Dr Gaikwad submitted a joint report, outlining a community management plan in the event the court considered discharging him from hospital.

Justice Goundar said Mr Kaisau was the longest involuntarily confined patient at St Giles Hospital, having been there for 20 years, and apart from occasionally threatening the medical staff he did not pose any danger to himself or the public.

And that as long as he took his medication to manage his illness, he would not pose a threat to the community.

The court also heard that Mr Kaisau was released to spend weekends with his family under the previous Mental Treatment Act of 1978 which was repealed and replaced by the Mental Health Act 2011.

“I am satisfied he does not pose an imminent risk or threat to himself or to the public if he is integrated into the community,” he said as he discharged the order.

His sister was appointed his guardian and primary carer as he prepares to spend time between his home and St Giles over the next few weeks where his performance will be reviewed.

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