A man arrested after a stand-off outside Hove Crown Court yesterday was under police guard in the Royal Sussex County Hospital today (Friday 12 August).
Jacob Ross, 27, of Church Road, Hove, turned up to be sentenced yesterday for having a knife and attacking two police officers during an affray on Hove Lawns last summer.
But Ross came to court with a hunting knife with a 5in blade.
Police were called and, after a stand-off that lasted more than an hour, they persuaded Ross to give himself up for arrest.
Witnesses said that Ross appeared to be unwell and having a psychotic episode.
After he was arrested, Sussex Police arranged for a mental health assessment, Hove Crown Court was told today.
Court-appointed mental health liaison officer Chris Bath told the court: “He was released for detention under section 2 of the Mental Health Act.
“He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital under section 136 of the Mental Health Act to the A&E (Accident and Emergency) Department where he currently is.
“There is not a bed. The bed manager’s view is that he would receive better mental health care in prison.”
Judge Jeremy Gold asked: “He’s at the Royal Sussex County Hospital with a police escort?”
When told that this was the case, the judge said: “What an extraordinary use of scarce resources.
“He’s not safe to be released in my view. There’s a risk of further offences.”
The judge said that he would remand Ross in custody but said that if a bed became available, Ross should be bailed so that he can go to hospital.
Judge Gold added: “It’s a very unsatisfactory situation. This man should be in hospital but there’s no bed available.”
The judge ordered that a senior executive from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust should come to court next Friday (19 August) “in person … to give a full explanation”.
He wanted the mental health trust to explain “the non-availability of beds and give an explanation of what plans there are for the admission of Mr Ross to hospital”.
Yesterday, Judge Gold appeared astonished to be told that the court had previously acceded to a request that only a vegan psychiatrist could interview Ross for a pre-sentence report.
Ross, who sometimes calls himself Israel, later demanded that the psychiatrist should also be a Hebrew speaker.
Judge Gold said: “We’re going from the merely unreasonable to the utterly bizarre.
“I have every sympathy for a defendant with mental health difficulties. The court has gone to a great deal of trouble to accommodate Mr Ross.”