The Supreme Court of British Columbia says a woman’s rights were violated when she was held in hospital for almost one year without being provided with any written reasons for the detention or an opportunity for legal advice.
In a ruling released this week, Justice Lisa Warren describes the 39-year-old woman as “highly vulnerable” and says she suffers from cognitive impairments, mental health issues and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
The ruling says staff at the Fraser Health Authority had good reason to believe the woman, identified as A.H. in a court document, had been abused and was at risk of serious harm when she was taken into care on Oct. 6, 2016.
But it says there is also no doubt the health authority could have promptly applied for a provincial court order authorizing the provision of support and services for her.
The decision says A.H. was held in conditions that violated her residual liberty, including being placed in mechanical restraints, not allowed out of a facility to get fresh air and restrictions were placed on visitor, phone and internet access.
A provincial court judge granted the required order to the health authority on Sept. 22, 2017, on the grounds the woman was abused or neglected, was incapable of deciding not to accept the services proposed and would benefit from the support.