Improper coordination delays observation of trial-awaiting offenders
WINDHOEK - The lack of proper coordination between the courts and the Mental Health Care Centre, a subdivision of the Windhoek Central Hospital, contributes to the delay in the mental observation of trial-awaiting offenders.
In an interview with New Era recently, Dr Hileni Ndjaba, a psychiatrist and head of the Mental Health Care Centre said the forensic unit at the centre has a bed-capacity of 16 patients and at the time the interview was conducted there were only four patients.
“In February, there was no admission,” she added.
The bed capacity for observation is 60 patients. Ndjaba explained that in the past there was a long waiting list to attend to patients awaiting trial who needed to be assessed psychologically.
“We used to have a long waiting list but now the cases that we are dealing with are from 2017 and 2018. We do not have cases older than that,” said Ndjaba, adding that there is a booking system in place which has made their work easier.
“Currently, there is a problem with transport because these people have to be transported by the police and the police are the ones who are booking them. When I asked why the ward is empty, they said the relevant authorities were called and those people who put their clients there did not bring them,” she added.
Those that have been evaluated are sometimes kept waiting in the wards at the mental health centre because no one is picking them up, the psychiatrist explained. She said the courts sometimes drag cases, which were never completed.
“There was a man who was sent here for mental evaluation and when we evaluated we did not find him mentally ill and when we asked why he was sent here he said he was sent here because he insulted the magistrate in court because he had a simple case that was dragging on but it kept being postponed,” she said.
2019-04-09 08:28:46 5 months ago