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Chief Justice flags concerns over delays with psychiatric reports

A delay in the production of psychiatric reports for Gibraltar’s courts is becoming “pressing”, Chief Justice Anthony Dudley said on Friday.

The backlog comes despite there being no apparent fault in the administrative mechanisms in place to request and produce these reports, suggesting the issue may be down to resources and manpower.

But the delays have real consequences for defendants whose cases cannot be proceeded with until the reports are produced.

The issue arose during a case management hearing before the Supreme Court on Friday.

Mr Justice Dudley said senior staff at the GHA had been “helpful and cooperative” but added that despite the mechanisms ffor requesting and producing the reports being in place, the reports themselves were not yet ready.

“We are not getting reports,” Mr Justice Dudley said.

This was the first of two such cases to come before the court on Friday.

Two psychiatric reports had been requested last April in respect of one defendant who is on remand pending a psychiatric assessment to establish whether she is able to understand the charges she faces and enter a plea.

One report was provided but did not deal with the statutory test as to whether or not the defendant was fit to plead to the charges.

The second report never appeared, Mr Justice Dudley said, adding that the court was now in a situation where it had no reports to hand.

The case was adjourned until October.

The judge asked the defendant if she had anything to say and, speaking through an interpreter, she told the court she had been in prison for the past six months.

Mr Justice Dudley clarified with her that she was being held on remand at Ocean Views Mental Health Facility, to which she replied: “Which is worse.”

In the second such case, the defendant has been held on remand since June as the courts work to progress the case to sentencing.

With a report still not ready Mr Justice Dudley adjourned the case until November.

He said that should no report be available by then, he would reiterate to the GHA just how pressing the situation has become.

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