A High Court judge last yesterday ordered that a 14-year-old boy who was being bullied while at the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital be removed from that State-run facility and placed in the care and control of the Children’s Authority.
Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams ordered that by 11 o’clock last night, the boy must be removed from St Ann’s and delivered into the custody of the Authority. The decision was handed down in the San Fernando High Court where the boy’s parents sought an injunction to stop their child from being bullied and sexually abused at the hospital.
Anand Ramlogan led a battery of attorneys who argued the mother’s injunction on the ground that the State, through its institution - the St Ann’s Hospital - is unable to take care of her son to the extent that he was raped by another inmate in a bathroom of the hospital. The boy’s mother outlined in an affidavit the no end of trouble she has experienced in having her son cared for at various homes for children.
The boy has been diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and as a result, is unable to speak properly and often becomes overweight.
He once stayed at the St Michael’s Home for Boys. His mother, a babysitter, stated that while at St Michael’s, her son was the victim of constant sexual harassment even by staff members. The boy was made to perform sexual favours and at the time, he was a mere nine-years-old.
Ramlogan, instructed by attorney Alvin Pariagsingh, submitted to Justice Quinlan-Williams on Monday when the injunction began against the Attorney General, that up until 2014, the boy was subjected to intense bullying by other residents at St Michael’s.
A request, Ramlogan told the judge, was made to send the boy to St Ann’s for psychiatric evaluation. That was done in October last year and since then, he has been a patient there. He said that the boy’s mother complained that her son’s telephone privileges were taken away and she was prevented from bringing along his two younger sisters to visit him at St Ann’s.
On October 9, Ramlogan filed a suit to have the court grant an interim relief to the mother, in which she ordered that the Children’s Authority Child Support Centre remove the boy from St Ann’s. A further order was granted that a team of medical doctors assessed the boy. But the mother stated in her affidavit that the the Children’s Authority had informed her that the place they intended to move her son, was secret and special arrangements would have to be made for visits.
Ramlogan wrote to the authority, but according to the mother, the attorney got no reply about the status of her son. Lo and behold, she received a telephone call on October 12 from a doctors at St Ann’s, who informed her that someone had caught an adult male patient raping her son in the bathroom.
“I enquired whether the Children’s Authority had moved (name mentioned) and the doctor said ‘No’ (named called) still at St Ann’s.” The doctor said, the mother deposed, that the matter was reported to the Children’s Authority. In yesterday’s proceedings, the Authority joined as an interested party.
Ramlogan argued before Quinlan-Williams that if the boy continues to remain at St Ann’s, he is at great risk of further physical and sexual abuse. The boy, he contended, was up to last week, undergoing an unacceptable level of ill-treatment and neglect.
At 5 pm yesterday, Quinlan-Williams granted an order that the boy be forthwith or no later than 11 pm, be removed from the custody of St Ann’s. She ordered him to be delivered to the custody, care and control of the Children Authority and specifically the Child Support Unit.
The judge further ordered that the Registrar of the Supreme Court or her designate, personally serve the order to the medical director of St Ann’s.