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Argy Bargy Killer* Makes a Bid for the Soft Touch of the Psych Ward

By RandomGit - 10 October 2007 27

ABC News is reporting on Matthew Raymond Nicholls and his attempts to be checked back into Canberra Hospitals’ Psych Ward. Riot ACT readers will recall this man as the one who shoulder charged an elderly woman in The Canberra Centre. She suffered a heart attack an hour later.

The surprising thing is, he has been in the Psych Ward due to his actions and checked himself out. Just like that. Thanks for the good times but he’s got a plane to catch.

His lawyer is applying for an ‘unfit to plea’ hearing on mental health grounds.

I can’t comment on the state of his mental health or the state of the legal system and it’s approach to the same. But the Psych Ward allowing him to be released, by himself, when he is there for being criminally dangerous seems grossly negligent.


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27 Responses to
Argy Bargy Killer* Makes a Bid for the Soft Touch of the Psych Ward
Thumper 9:05 am 12 Oct 07

Just tell them to politely go away, and if they continue then tell them firmly ‘f*ck off.’

That’s my general tact.

sepi 8:59 am 12 Oct 07

they’re not all beggars – but they are all annoying. In one walk from Kathmandhu up to Garema place I might have to say no to a religious nutter, the red cross, battery chook protesters, junkie begger, fat gambling beggar, falung gong people, scientologists etc etc. They all come out at lunchtime – it is now easier just to walk the long way around the street.

RandomGit 8:52 am 12 Oct 07

Didn’t see nothing yesterday. I’ll have another stroll through today but these huddled hordes of beggars are yet to materialise.

Thumper 8:23 am 12 Oct 07

Yeah, the place is filled with scum, but it’s not really that bad…

Try the souks in the medina at Meknes if you want shady, dangerous characters. Man, I reckon you could buy a tank there if you wanted. Or get your balls cut off….

I do agree a bit more of a police prescence would be good, but it’s not downtown Bagdad.

sepi 7:34 am 12 Oct 07

Yep – garema place and the pedestrian walk from the old Electric Shadows, the merrigoround and up to the bus interchange is a no-go zone at lunchtime due to all the aggressive beggars.

BigDave 8:53 pm 11 Oct 07

I’d agree with the fact that the guy is a complete waste of space and a lowlife. Unfortunately Canberra, especially Civic, seems to be full of them. It’s high time the authorities started doing something for the safety of the public. I’m sick to death of being hassled for change or cigarettes only to be verbally abused when refused. The Civic interchange is virtually a no-go area in my books.

MrMagoo 10:30 am 11 Oct 07

He’s a nut he attacks old defenceless people and injures them. Lock him up end of the discussion.

jackal 10:49 pm 10 Oct 07

to clarify TAD’s comment, the resuscitation attempts did not begin immediately after the push or shoulder charge. she actually got up after the push and continued shopping, went to the superbarn in the canberra centre, paid and left, then had the heart attack/heart problem, about half an hour after the incident. whether there was a link between the push and the heart failure will be for the courts to determine, unless of course nicholls is found not guilty because of his mental health issues.

TAD 10:30 pm 10 Oct 07

Yeah what Jackal said………………..

TAD 10:27 pm 10 Oct 07

A shitload of misinformation in that one. If you read the info from court.

– lady died of a torn aorta not a heart attack, half an hour after being pushed (not shoulder charged) into bike racks. The extra 30 mins was attempted resuscitation. Nicholls has been charged with manslaughter, the allegation being that the torn aorta was directly related to the alleged assault.

– Nicholls was ordered by the magistrate to undergo a mental health assessment at TCH Psychiatric Services Unit whilst still being remanded in custody. This unit is a secure mental health facility in name only and he escaped (not checked out).

– As the only other “secure mental health facility” Brian Hennessy House is full he was sent back to Belconnen Remand Centre.

jackal 10:22 pm 10 Oct 07

he wasn’t in the psych ward voluntarily, he was there under a magistrate’s order so he could be assessed and treated. while there, he just strolled out without anyone realising, not “checked himself out” as his lawyer told the court. apparently this happens often, as the psych ward is inadequately staffed. plus the staff there are nurses etc, not security guards equipped to handle the criminally insane. though it’s regarded by the courts as a secure facility, the hospital’s psych unit is anything but. nicholls is back in the remand centre.

szeretetta 5:43 pm 10 Oct 07

It depends on what basis he was in the ward on:

If he was a voluntary patient, he can check himself out any time he wants.

If he was on an Emergency Detention order, he is in the ward against his will for assessment, but if a psychiatrist finds that he is not mentally ill at that time he is then free to go.

If he has an order from the Mental Health Tribunal, he is required to be in hospital if the treating psychiatrist deems it to be necessary.

Otherwise, there is always the option of going AWOL – absent without leave. These patients are reported to various authorities when they are found to be AWOL, but after a certain period of time being absent, they are discharged.

sepi 5:38 pm 10 Oct 07

I hope this is not true.

Speaking gnenerally though, I’ve always thought it was a flaw in teh system that lunatics get off scott free as soon as they are cured.

I think if you do a murder that would have got 10 years, and you are declared insane and sent to the loony bin, then when you are declared cured, and about to be let out, you should serve some proportion of a sentence for the crime committed. Especially if you are suddenly cured very soon after doing the crime.

astrojax 5:15 pm 10 Oct 07

that, or chronically under-regulated and legislatively inforced..???

what powers do ward staff have in these sort of cases?

Mr Evil 5:09 pm 10 Oct 07

Maybe the ACT was violating his human rights by confining him in the psych ward?

Probably another case of the psych unit being cronically understaffed on the day he went walkies?

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