It would be helpful for the Guidance to consider ways in which the taint of deception could be removed, as far as possible, from cases involving closed hearings and to recognise and seek to minimise the moral injury they can cause.
At any point in the last two years of treatment, A might have discovered the medication in her food, or been alerted to the medication by a carer. At any point her grandparents (who visited her in person) could have commented on her pubertal development and raised suspicions. Or she herself could have questioned her breast development, her hair growth or changing body shape. Was there really no contingency plan in place to deal with this?
What happened in this case strikes at the very heart of the work of the Open Justice Court of Protection Project. It’s very unfortunate that the manner in which this case became public knowledge was via a blog post based on a misapprehension of the facts – necessitating a Statement correcting those facts.
We will now investigate how it came about that an observer was admitted to a public hearing in which a salient (‘magnetic’) fact of the case was meticulously concealed (by order of the court), leading – surely inevitably – to inaccurate reporting.
“…Understandably, the decision to prescribe an antipsychotic to a person with dementia and administer it covertly should not be taken lightly. Counsel in this hearing noted that it represented a ‘significant interference’ with P’s human rights…”