I was explaining to the House that the amendment is a technical one following enactment of the Interpretation Act 2005. Amendments Nos. 1 and 6 simply harmonise this legislation with the Act. It is not necessary to include certain provisions in the legislation, since they are now governed by the Interpretation Act 2005, before whose enactment this legislation was drafted.
The purpose of amendment No. 3 is merely to clarify that references to a legal representative means solicitors or barristers practising in the State and to align a reference. Regarding amendment No. 8, the Parliamentary Counsel advises the Minister that there is no need to refer to the statutory basis of the Central Mental Hospital in the Bill, since section 39 of the Mental Treatment Act 1961 already provides that the Central Criminal Lunatic Asylum established pursuant to the Central Criminal Lunatic Asylum (Ireland) Act 1845 is to be styled alone as the Central Mental Hospital.
Section 39 was preserved from the repeal of the 1961 Act by section 6 and the Schedule to the Mental Health Act 2001. Amendments Nos. 9 and 11 provide for the insertion of the words "by order" after "children" to make it clear that the designation of centres by the Minister for Health and Children is to be done by way of orders to be made by that Minister.
On amendment No. 7, the Minister was advised by the Parliamentary Counsel that the new Interpretation Act governs the matter and there is no need for the phrase to be in the legislation.
Amendment No. 17 deals with the question of an assessment prior to a decision by the court to commit a person to a designated centre. This amendment was necessary because section 3(4) did not provide a power for the court to commit a person to a designated centre. Amendment No. 24 is a related amendment to secure the same purpose.
Amendment No. 19 corrects an incorrect reference to "section" as meaning section 4, it should be to the subsection, meaning section 4(3)(b). Amendment No. 20 refers to the precise part of section 5 which sets out the essential elements of the concept of diminished responsibility.
Amendments Nos. 22 and 23 clarify what is to happen once the appeal court confirms that a person is unfit to be tried. The Bill is currently silent on the matter. It now provides in this amendment that proceedings will be adjourned until further order and may, if the judge is satisfied, having considered the evidence of an approved medical officer and any other evidence that may be adduced that the accused person is suffering from a mental disorder and is in need of inpatient care or treatment in a designated centre, commit him or her to a specified designated centre.
Amendments Nos. 27 and 28 provide for the insertion of the word "and" instead of the word "or" in sections 3(6)(b) and (c) in order to bring them into line with the similar reference in section 3(6)(d).
Amendment No. 29 provides for the deletion of the words "for Justice, Equality and Law Reform" from the reference to the Minister as they are unnecessary because it is already defined in the interpretation section.
Amendment No. 31 clarifies that the reference to the "clinical director" is to the clinical director of a centre in which the patient is detained.
The purpose of amendment No. 32 is to remove the reference to indictable in section 12(3)(a). The correct reference should be to an offence because section 3 deals with summary offences, indictable offences triable summarily and indictable offences.
Amendments Nos. 33, 35, 37 and 38 tidy up some of the provisions and language of the Bill. The Minister agreed with Senators' comments that the word "disposal" is inappropriate and these amendments flow from the decision to delete the concept of disposal from the legislation. The wording which the Minister proposed at the time was for the word "disposal" to be replaced by the words "as to how the patient should be dealt with". Having reflected further on that change in consultation with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, the Minister was still somewhat unhappy with the text. He therefore decided to replace the words "as to how the patient should be dealt with" with a more elegant drafting construction using the words "in relation to the patient". At the time when the original change was made in the Seanad, some other provisions which included the word "disposal" were overlooked. The Minister therefore took the opportunity on Committee Stage in the Dáil to change them by replacing them with the words "in relation to the patient".
Amendments Nos. 34 and 36 relate to lengthy discussions in this House on the question of "care and treatment" and "care or treatment". The Minister's preference was for "care or treatment" on the basis that it clearly means that a person can either be cared for or treated. The other formulation could be open to the interpretation that if a person was not capable of being treated, they should not be cared for either, and that is wholly unacceptable. The purpose of these two amendments was to bring the references to "care and treatment" and "treatment or care" respectively into line with the other references in the Bill to "care or treatment".
Amendment No. 39 clarifies that the reference to "centre" at the end of section 13(2) is to the "other" centre to which the patient is to be transferred. This is ambiguous in the current wording.
Amendments Nos. 40 and 41 substitute more correct terminology into sections 14(6)(a) and (b). This relates to the supplying of copies of the certification referred to in subsection (5) to the prisoner and the Minister. The current text uses the word “statement” when referring back. The more correct word is “certification” as there is no reference in subsection (5) to a “statement”.
Amendment No. 42 is a technical drafting amendment proposed by the Parliamentary Counsel. Amendment No. 43 is also a technical drafting amendment to make it clear that the review board is not reliant on the initiative of the Minister in reviewing detentions pursuant to certification, and that it can act on its own initiative in reviews of detention under section 14 generally.
Amendment No. 45 was discussed on Committee Stage in the Seanad on foot of a Fine Gael amendment and the Minister introduced an amendment to meet the points raised on Report Stage. However, the Minister was concerned at the use of the word "arraignment". It connotes procedures in a trial on indictment and accordingly its applicability in District Court proceedings was questionable. As that clearly is not what is intended, the Minister proposed this amendment to clarify the matter.
Amendment No. 46 makes it clear in the context of courts martial under the Defence Act 1954 that the two definitions of "mental disorder" must be borne in mind and that their application is dependent on the context in which they arise.
Amendment No. 48, which was proposed by Deputy Costello and accepted by the Minister following consultation with the Parliamentary Counsel, provides for the Irish version of the Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board to be inserted into the Long Title of the Bill. The Irish version is in fact already included in the establishment provision for the new board in section 10.
These amendments were technical in character and I thank Senators for their patience in allowing me to explain them.