Dr. Benjamin responds to claims
Both parties are holding their ground as the process of mediation continues in the lawsuit between Ruth Ann Cyrille-Prince, Dr. Griffin Benjamin and the Attorney General.
Prince alleges that her detention at the Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU) by Dr. Benjamin and his staff was unlawful; she is seeking redress from the court for the hurt and embarrassment she endured in May 2013.
However, in his defense filed on December 23, 2013, Dr. Benjamin argues that he acted within the confines of the law in doing what he did.
In his defense, Dr. Benjamin claims that the Claimant (Cyrille-Prince) "in accordance with the provisions of the Mental Health Act (was) lawfully detained at the APU on 24, May 2013 during follow up consultation with him and the medical doctor assigned to the psychiatric outpatient clinic."
But in an amended response Cyrille-Prince, through her lawyer Heather Felix-Evans, denied that claim.
"When the Claimant (Cyrille-Prince) visited the APU on 24, May 2013 it was for a specific purpose of speaking with the psychologist. However, the 1st Defendant (Dr. Benjamin) who was present at the APU at the time again requested to see her and it was on that occasion that he treated her unlawfully," the lawyer said in the amended statement.
Dr. Benjamin has also denied making any "inappropriate or unprofessional statements or comments to the Claimant and or her visitors at any time while she was receiving treatment on the ward."
According to Dr. Benjamin, at the time of Cyrille-Prince's admission on the ward at the APU, he and a medical doctor assessed the patient and determined that she had been suffering from bipolar disorder and was a threat to her children.
"She was admitted for the protection of her children and in order to allow her to received treatment so that she would regain control of her moods and behaviour. She was monitored and treated while on the ward and she benefited as far as her mental health is concerned from the said treatment. The Claimant was lawfully admitted under Section 8 of the Mental Health Act Chap 40:62 and is not entitled to any damages for assault, battery and or false imprisonment," Dr. Benjamin stated.
But Felix-Evans labels Dr. Benjamin's claims as "baseless and a rush to judgment." The Claimant says that Dr. Benjamin "assessments", that she was mentally ill and a threat to her children were baseless in fact. The lawyer said further that Dr. Benjamin admitted and /or detained Cyrille-Prince at the APU when he knew, or ought to have known, that the statutory requirement of the Mental Health Act, including Section 8 had not been satisfied or not caring whether or not the statutory requirements of the Act were satisfied.
"The Claimant says that the Defendants' defense should be struck out as disclosing no reasonable ground for defending the claim and judgment should be entered for her with damages to be assessed and costs," Felix-Evans wrote.