Divisional Courts

Publication Date01 Feb 1982
DOI10.1177/002201838204600102
SubjectArticle
Divisional Courts
Comments
on
Cases
POYNER AND OTHERS - APPEAL FROM REGISTRATION
OFFICER
This was an appeal to the County Court from a decision
of
the
registration officer for Ribble Valley Council relating to the inclusion
on the Register
of
Electors of the names of the three appellants, who
resided at Calderstones, a hospital for the mentally retarded, run by the
Ministry and designed for long-stay patients originally, with over a
thousand beds. The three appellants had now no other home than the
hospital: this applied to all 618 individuals who had originally tried to
register, all of whose applications had been turned down. Only the
three, Poyner, Smith and Stringfellow, had appealed.
Judge Prestt, Q. C., decided that the three were not patients within
the meaning of the Mental Health Act (1959) and the Representation
of the 'People Act 1949', section 4 (3). He ordered their names to be
placed on the Register
of
Electors for Ribble Valley Borough Council.
When, as in the case of these individuals, people were living at
Calderstones because they had nowhere else to live, and they applied to
be included on the Register, the Judge suggested the medical staff,
where appropriate, should inform the Registrar directly that they were
not resident as patients suffering from mental illness or other forms of
mental disorder; but simply with no other home.
Poyner had been at Calderstones since 1933, coming from a special
school for reasons unknown to himself: Smith had also been admitted
in the 1930's as a teenager on the occasion of his father's death and
mother's serious illness; Stringfellow, now
46,
being badly disabled
physically, was admitted some years ago when his parents became
too old to givehim nursing care.
The only resident psychiatrist was called to Court,
but
he had never
had occasion to know the three personally; and medical evidence was
based on case notes and on a short interview on the day of hearing.
5

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