The young woman found wandering in a confused and distressed state by gardaí in Dublin last month may be suffering from a psychiatric condition, the High Court heard yesterday.
Mr Justice George Birmingham was also told the woman, who is from Australia, is a “vulnerable individual”.
The mystery woman, who was initially believed to been in her teens and European, was formally identified as being a 25-year-old Australian national after gardaí took the unprecedented step on Tuesday of releasing her photograph to the media.
O’Connell St girl appeal update- Gardaí thank the public and the media for their assistance, no further assistance is required at this time— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) November 6, 2013
Within hours of releasing the picture, it was established the woman had been staying with a relative in Ireland for three weeks prior to her discovery near the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell St.
Yesterday, at the High Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham was informed the young woman may be suffering from a psychiatric condition.
Lawyers for the HSE, the gardaí and her legally appointed guardian asked the court to leave in place orders allowing the HSE to keep the woman in care. The orders should be kept in place pending an assessment of her by a psychiatrist who deals with adults, it was submitted.
The request was made after both a consultant psychiatrist involved in the woman’s treatment and a Garda detective investigating her case agreed she was “a highly vulnerable individual”.
Felix McEnroy, SC, for the woman’s guardian, said while it is accepted she was “not a minor” — “a temporary vacuum” should not be created allowing the woman to leave where she is currently in care.
“If such a door was opened” counsel said, it could “put her life at risk”.
While there had been “an extraordinary turnaround in the facts,” the issue of her vulnerability was not in question and the HSE still had an obligation to vindicate her personal rights.
Tim O’Leary for the HSE supported the application to leave the care orders in place. Counsel said the HSE had arranged for an assessment of the woman to take place. Arising out of that, the HSE may seek to make a further application in respect of the woman under the provisions of the 2001 Mental Health Act, Counsel said.
Mr Justice George Birmingham said he was prepared to discharge the care orders but in the interests of the individual was placing a stay on the discharge until this morning, when the matter will return before the courts.
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