A judgement handed down by the Tribunal of the Liège Court of First Instance is set to cause a lot of upset. The Tribunal has said Belgian authorities are responsible for the death of Steve Michaux, a 26 year old schizophrenic. He hung himself in his cell at Lantin on the 3rd of July 2009, Le Soir and the Sudpresse papers reported on Wednesday. If the young man had been placed in an establishment adapted to his illness, it would not have happened, the Tribunal decided. Steve Michaux ended up in Lantin as there was nowhere else to put him. After suffering a series of violent panic attacks, the young man was put in a “disciplinary” cell, with bars and a covered door. His psychiatrist was not informed. Mr Michaux’s psychiatrist had warned authorities his patient was a suicide risk.
The Tribunal said the Justice department had not respected the Human Rights Convention and Social Defence Law, due to “a lack of facilities”. Belgian authorities have had to give the deceased’s family previsionary damages.