Broadmoor man gains public appeal

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The Independent Online

A man held in secure hospitals for 25 years will today become the first psychiatric patient to have an appeal against detention heard in public.

Albert Haines, 52, who is seeking to be freed from Broadmoor Hospital, successfully argued that his case should be considered at an open hearing after saying he wanted to expose alleged failings in the system.

He has been detained in hospital since being convicted of two counts of attempted wounding in September 1986.

Mr Haines's lawyers will argue before a first-tier mental health tribunal in central London open to the public and press that he should be released, albeit potentially under strict conditions.

An estimated 100,000 mental health tribunals have been held in the past seven years, but out of these there were only 10 applications for the hearing to be held in public.

Only one previous application for an open session was granted, and this was later withdrawn, meaning Mr Haines has achieved a legal first.

Mr Haines told The Independent: "I don't want to be involved with mental healthcare anymore. I want to be able to recover.

"I can't support a system that bullies you into being who they want you to be. I don't dispute I have problems, but I dispute that I have mental health problems."

Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital in Crowthorne, Berkshire, is home to some of Britain's most dangerous criminals, including Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and serial killer Robert Napper.

West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which runs Broadmoor, declined to comment ahead of today's hearing.