Intellectually challenged man wants out of jail

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Rosie Mullaley
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But lawyers want to ensure Justin Murphy has community supervision first

Justin Murphy, who has been diagnosed with mental health disorders, is reportedly not getting his medication in jail. — Telegram file photo

The pleas of a man diagnosed with mental health disorders to be freed from prison was denied Thursday when lawyers refused to release him without community supervision.

When Justin Murphy appeared in provincial court in St. John’s, duty counsel in Courtroom No. 7 told the judge that it’s best to hold off on a having a bail hearing regarding Murphy’s charges of arson at a thrift store.

“He’s absolutely desperate to get out (of jail),” Jane Fitzpatrick told Judge Pamela Goulding.

“But given his history and his situation, it wouldn’t be practical to release him.”

That’s because, she said, Murphy — who has been diagnosed with developmental disorders — needs a place to live where he can receive special support.

She said social workers from Eastern Health are in the process of making arrangements for Murphy.

“They are working on it,” Fitzpatrick said.

 

Not receiving medication

That didn’t go over well with Murphy, who urgently wants to get out of Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, where he is not receiving his medication for his psychiatric issues and where inmates laugh at him.

Dr. Nazar Ladha, the province’s head psychiatrist at the Waterford Hospital, completed a psychiatric assessment on Murphy and deemed him mentally fit to stand trial.

However, Ladha wrote a letter recommending that Murphy continue to take his medication.

Fitzpatrick said she doesn’t know why Murphy is not getting his medication, but said she would write a letter to HMP’s superintendent to inquire about it.

“He’s very frustrated,” Fitzpatrick said.

Throughout proceedings Murphy continuously shook his head and sighed heavily. He spoke up a few times to tell the judge why he feels he shouldn’t be behind bars.

He said he especially needed to get out of jail because he is scheduled to stand as a groomsman at his mother’s wedding in a few weeks.

Lawyers couldn’t assure him of anything, but Fitzpatrick said she will call a bail hearing as soon as she hears back from social workers.

The case was postponed until Aug. 15.

Murphy, 27, faces charges of arson and failure to comply with a probation order in relation to the July 4 fire at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Kenmount Road in St. John’s around midnight.

Video surveillance released by the RNC shows a man wearing a hoodie rummaging through second-hand items left outside at the back of the store. Shortly after he left, several fires were seen. The fire department showed up shortly afterwards.

The store sustained moderate damage, and was forced to close to make repairs.

Murphy has been in trouble with the law before. In July 2011, he was sentenced to nine months in prison with probation for committing a slew of crimes, including break

and enter, theft and dangerous driving.

Back then, during sentencing, Murphy told the judge, “I’ve learned my lesson this time.”

 

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Waterford Hospital, Salvation Army Thrift Store, RNC

Geographic location: Kenmount Road

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  • wanda white
    August 03, 2013 - 10:03

    Keeping this man in jail is understandable. What is NOT understandable is why inmates are being denied medications needed for a mental illness. This is by no means the first time this has happened at H.M. Penitentiary. Why is the psychiatrist in there not removed from his office. He is denying people their basic human rights and this is atrocious!