I’m concerned about the accuracy and reliability of some of the ‘expert’ psychiatric evidence given in some recent cases.
In the recent R v Nelson  EWCA Crim 1615 case dealing with Sec 45a - Paragraph 39 says:
*"Dr Cumming gave evidence that those released under section 37 and 41 MHA hospital and restriction orders were likely to reoffend in 4 per cent of cases.”
This is er, questionable.
Recent academic evidence shows a very high rate of recidivism by restricted patents. A long-term study of patients released from Arnold Lodge medium secure unit in Leicester found 48% (368 patients) were re-convicted after release, 30% (109 patients) for grave offences.
Another study of patients released from high secure psychiatric hospitals found 38% were re-convicted, 26% for serious offences.
And not all offending results in conviction, as these types of offenders are often recalled or diverted away from the criminal justice system. Offending rates by restricted patients will be significantly higher than convictions alone suggest.
A further study of offenders with schizophrenia
released from medium secure psychiatric unit in South East London found two thirds of the total – 67% -reoffended violently.
Dr Cummings figures may come from the MoJ stats 2010-2016, which claim a re-offending rate of 5.7%, but only counts offending during the first year of release. The MoJ report itself says their figures must be treated with caution.
This is not the first incident I’m aware of where judges have been given partial or inaccurate information by ‘expert’ witnesses. (One thought recently the Home Secretary was involved in the release of restricted patients).
How can Judges ensure they are being given accurate
and reliable information?
Is there a mechanism to notify them after the fact when this has happened?