A mentally ill man who was in danger of being released from custody onto the streets has been offered homeless accommodation.
Last Friday, Judge Martin Nolan said he had been put in “a terrible position” in having to put John Delaney “out on the streets” as there was no space for him at the Central Mental Hospital.
Judge Nolan was speaking at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after hearing that Mr Delaney (26) is on a waiting list for the Central Mental Hospital, which is currently full.
“I have been put in a terrible position here. I have been asked to release a man into society that is probably unfit to be released into society,” the judge said.
Delaney, of no fixed abode, was facing trial on charges of an assault allegedly carried out at the Fr Peter McVerry shelter in Finglas, Dublin on February 18 this year. He was also charged with producing a butter knife in a manner likely to intimidate another and with criminal damage on the same date.
After evidence from a consultant psychiatrist was presented to the court, Judge Nolan said he was satisfied Mr Delaney was unfit to stand trial and noted he has already spent about nine months in custody at Portlaoise prison.
He initially ordered that Mr Delaney should be released in one week’s time, but Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, advised the judge this option was not available to him under the law.
Judge Nolan said he had hoped the one week period would allow the relevant parties involved in the case to make arrangements for Mr Delaney. The court heard he has no close family he can stay with.
When the judge suggested that he would have to release Mr Delaney immediately, Mr Delaney asked the judge: “Where am I going to stay?”
Judge Nolan commented: “We are literally putting this man out on the street.”
The judge remanded Delaney in continuing custody until Monday, when the court heard accommodation had been found for Mr Delaney with the Peter McVerry Trust. He has also been referred to Tallaght Mental Health Services for treatment, Oisin Clarke BL, defending, told the court.
Judge Nolan thanked all those involved in the case, saying: “I appreciate the efforts all parties have made in this case.”
“Hopefully Mr Delaney will be able to take advantage of these efforts.”
He ordered the immediate release of Mr Delaney from custody.