High Court judge upholds ban on 94-year-old dementia sufferer talking to journalists

A 94-year-old dementia sufferer at the centre of litigation involving a local authority lacked the mental capacity to make decisions about "communications with the press", a High Court judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Russell also declared that it was not in the woman's best interests to communicate with the press.

The judge made the declaration at a Court of Protection hearing in London after the London Borough of Redbridge – the local authority applied to restrict the woman's access to the press.

The judge said the woman could not be identified.

Today's ruling comes after an hearing in March at which Mr Justice Cobb examined the council's application and made an interim order gagging the woman from contact with journalists.

The woman previously told the Daily Mail: "I am quite capable of speaking for myself. I know what I want and what I need. I am in my right senses.

"I don’t what them (social workers) to cross my gates or come to my house. I want to be left alone by these people."

Mr Justice Cobb said the woman – a retired health worker – had dementia and was cared for in her home.

Social workers had investigated after concerns were raised about the behaviour of the pensioner's ''live-in carer'' and her husband.

Mr Justice Cobb said the woman had earlier this year masked her face with a scarf and taken part in a protest outside a town hall in Ilford, east London, about the local authority's involvement with her case.

She had been taken to Parliament, where a select committee was discussing the work of the Court of Protection, and signed a petition asking the Government to intervene in her ''dispute with the local authority''.

The judge said there had also been ''communication'' between the woman and members of the press. But there was "concern" that the woman's carer was ''influencing'' her to ''involve herself in publicity in order to further an agenda'', and Redbridge Council had applied to restrict the woman's access to the press.

Mr Justice Cobb made an interim order that she should not "make such communications" pending an expert assessment of her mental capacity and further analysis.

Today Mrs Justice Russell made a declaration saying: "(She) lacks capacity to make decisions about … communications with the press."

Her declaration added: "It is not in her best interests to communicate with the press".

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and judges analyse issues relating to sick and vulnerable people.

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