COSTLEY HOME ASSAULT CHARGE.
WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ASSAULT! BOARD'S AND OFMCLALS' POSITIONS At the meeting of the Hospital Board yesterday a report was read from the Costley Home committee, recommending that the Board's solicitor should be instructed to act for the Board when the case in which the manager of the Costley Home (Mr. Bannerman) has been committed for trial on a charge of assaulting an inmate of'the institution, comes before the Supreme Court. In the course of a discussion, the chairman of the Board (Mr. G. Knight) said that they all knew that it was necessary to bath people to keep them clean. Old people at times tried to avoid being bathed, and considered their own pleasure rather than the rules. Mr. Kettle, S.M., had given a decision, and it was the interest of the Board to -know what its position was. It was very important that they should know where they stood. They should know whether the fact of bathing a man against his wish constituted an assault or not. If it did, an inmate had only to refuse to be bathed, and then, if he was bathed, he had been assaulted. They could not relax the bathing rule, and must at all risks keep up the sanitar}' condition, health, and the cleanliness of their institution. That was the reason why the committee had recommended that the Board's solicitor should watch their interests.
Mr. W. Johns said that the recommendation should be altered to read that the solicitor should act for the Board's manager. The manager had been carrying out the rules for the Board, and, according to Mr. Kettle, had been guilty of assault.
Mr. Ooyle: If the manager has 'been carrying out the instructions of the Board, it is our duty to protect him. If the manager has committed an act of cruelty to this man, let -him protect -himself.
The outcome of the discussion waa that it was decided to instruct the Board's solicitor to appear for the Board m the case in such manner as he saw fit.
A letter was read from Dr. King, id which the writer asked what his position was. He said that he had admitted persons and ordered them to be bathed. It appeared that in doing so in future he would be laying himself open to a criminal charge. He would like the Board to define his responsibility if such cases should occur in the time to come. Mr. Coyle: Dr. King is a professional man, and knows his duty. The letter was received.
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