Tuesday 5 June 2007

To Bedlam or Belmarsh and throw the key away

Success and distress

Sometimes rather serious events highlight difficult to explain situations where the law has to intervene for the safety of all concerned.

In this case, a man of 36 has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983 for some very disturbing domestic events.

The said man is a director of Swiss Re, the world's largest reinsurer with revenues of over $28 billion and as the head of life and health products would have serious responsibilities.

Now, I have worked in the City years ago and I have seen the kind of pressure that people can be under to perform, to excel and to get ahead - people should however find ways of relaxing so as not to carry the travails of work back home.

Kids do it all the time

So Sunday morning the man and his wife seem to have a lie-in then little daughter gets up early to visit mum and dad, she ends up seriously battered, with life threatening injuries, lying conscious bleeding from the mouth, nose and ears.

One might now wonder if this serious act of child abuse was a first offence or just one of those many where this time it just went too far - the girl was only 2 years old.

She might have been warned or even threatened with menace if she ever came in to disturb mummy and daddy whilst they were still asleep; in any case, it is still unforgivable.

One law for children

If an adult had suffered this kind of beating, the culprit would have been done for Grievous Bodily Harm, maybe attempted murder and definitely would have been in a police cell awaiting arraignment, however, because it is a child, the culprit is mercifully granted hospitalisation for what is presumably a mental health issue.

Mental illness is agreed by most psychiatrists to cover schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, major depression, bipolar disorder and other similar illnesses, "(severe) mental impairment" to cover mental retardation (learning disability) and "psychopathic disorder" to cover the personality disorders.

I might agree that there is a mental health issue here though this might be closer to a personality disorder than a mental illness because no one beats up a child to unconsciousness for any purpose and definitely not your own child as a parent or guardian.

It would be expedient of the police to dispense with this case with the utmost alacrity and remove the mental health safeguards to treat this man as a heinous psychopathic criminal who is also a danger to society at large.

Closing this case

His career must now end at Swiss Re whilst hopefully the company having reposed such confidence in the man so as not to have people question his sanity should bequeath a largesse to ensure the welfare of this little girl is comprehensively assured to adulthood.

I am not sure the woman involved who might also be the girl's mother is of adequate capability to continue to exercise the lien of parentage over the girl; she might have to be fostered by extended family that might help accelerate the healing of her trauma.

I do pray God that the girl does survive and recover fully; meanwhile, the charge of attempted murder should not be far from the hearts, minds and lips of prosecutors.

Regardless of the pressures we have at work, it is no excuse to return home and take our frustrations out on our families, there are just no mitigating circumstances for that kind of behaviour apart from the fact that it shows how less of a man the "so-called" successful businessman really is.

Whether to Bedlam or to Belmarsh lock him up and throw away the key - this is completely unforgivable.

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