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THE LUNACY ACT

A pubjoct brought under the notloa of the Houao by Mr Samuel v tavr daya ay.o needs more than passing oomrmnt. The facts were detailed by Mr Samuel, and airnlttad by tho Colonial Secretary to bo m the main correctly stated. About a year ago the relatives of a man named Fdnwlok, who was confined In the Avondale Lunatic Aaylurn, Auckland, applied to the Supremo Court for an Inquisition de lanatioo, or order that some persons might bo appointed to manage hie property. Mr Jantiae Gillies thereupon took ovldenae, aud made some exhaustive Inquiries (mc udlng several personal visits to the alleged luuatio), and the result was thu otateruont m open court tb.it, tTenwlok wns Buffering uador a delusion ou ono aubjeot, aad was thorofoco i f nnscjuad mlua, bu< that he waj at the same time oap»blo ot mauaging hloaaeif and h!a affairs. The Lauaoy Aot la efLot raakea no diatiuotlon between one who la of unstiuad mind but o*p»ole of managing hlo aff«lrß, aud ono who Is of unsound mini and Incapable. Nor does It make any diotinotlon betwoon one who la of saoh unsound mind as to require his confinement And oue who, although of ausoaud mind, does not, need to be oonfined. Me Justice Ghllieo, m the oourua of the prooaedinga, stated emphutiottlly on mote than uuo oooastoa taat Feuwlok was not of suoh uasound mind aa to reqalre his detention, aud tbat, In bis opinion, he should be re* leased ', but tho Government being advised to tue contrary by their medioal offioers have, notwithstanding, kept him In confijemunt. Mr ISamuel, m moving for the correspondence on the eubjeot, contended that the Supremo Court should be supreme —In faot, as well as m name— and that be Lunacy Aot should be so amended as to permit the question as tj whethec or aot a noun wad of such* a state of mind as to requ re his detention iri, a luuatio asylum to he uubmltiod lo ana decided by a judge and jury. He v god. that th s would be on<y m consonance with the guiding principle of. our judicial system m permitting the question of imprisonment for what may be a very loug period to bo i ef erred to a judioial tribunal, and not decided, by a medioal staff without right of appeal to any judioitl tribunal . Toe Colonial Seoretary admitted the importance of the quuutijn raised, and the correspondence was ordered to be laid on the table of the House, — "New Zaaland rinuß."

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THE LUNACY ACT Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2177, 19 July 1889

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