From the Citizens Commission on Human Rights

November 4th 2008

Auckland mother Maria Bradshaw revealed that the Police will be referring the case of the death of her son, Toran Henry, to Crown Law for possible manslaughter charges.

In a moving speech at the Citizens Commission on Human Rights exhibition opening at the ASB Showgrounds on the weekend, Ms Bradshaw said it was, “a small win in a hard battle to bring out the truth of Toran’s death.” Ms Bradshaw has fought with mental health officials since her 17-year-old son took his life while he was on antidepressants in March this year. Ms Bradshaw claims the level of care for her son was negligent and irresponsible and that he never should have been prescribed antidepressants at such a young age. She also claims the psychiatric doctor stated Toran would be able cease taking the drugs to drink alcohol on the weekends and resume taking them afterwards.

In her talk that was given at the opening of an exhibition displaying the horrors of psychiatric abuse she said her son had been upset at the break-up with his girlfriend and that he fell victim to the psychiatric system of drugging people for ordinary life problems. She claimed she was threatened to have her son taken off her if she did not go along with the antidepressant treatment, which she opposed.

The Police referral to have Crown Law examine the case for possible manslaughter charges comes on the heels of a damning yet-to-be-published external report into the mental health care surrounding Toran Henry’s death.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights director, Mr Steve Green cited another case where the United Kingdom Police levelled manslaughter charges against a psychiatrist, Dr Peter Fisher, the NZ psychiatrist who was involved in three deaths including the case where psychiatric patient, Mark Burton broke into his mother’s home and stabbed her to death the day after Fisher had discharged him. Dr Fisher moved to England, where he practiced illegally. UK police became involved due to negligence over the suicide of one of his patients who overdosed on painkillers.

“Serious adverse events from psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants are well known by doctors. International warnings have been published around suicide in under-18-year olds, including New Zealand’s own Medsafe,” Mr Green said.

Mr Green believes strong measures need to be taken to prevent future deaths by suicide by people on psychotropic medication. The United States has now recorded that half of their suicides are committed by people on antidepressants, a worrying trend he doesn’t want in New Zealand.


Maria Bradshaw, mother of 17-year-old Toran Henry leant her weight behind the psychiatric labelling and drugging campaign, by travelling to Auckland especially to be a guest speaker. Amongst other things, she spoke out against the complete lack of objective medical tests in mental health, which ended with her son being prescribed an antidepressant and taking his own life earlier this year.

CCHR’s director, Mr Steve Green says the psychiatric abuse of human rights is worst when it is directed at kids, such as the Children of Lake Alice, which the Commission exposed in the mid 1970s. Current day psychiatric abuse of children are the powerful methamphetamine-based stimulants, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants administered for conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which he says was literally voted into existence.

In this country the use of anti-depressants for teenagers is very controversial with claims of how they cause suicidal behaviour,” he said. The Ministry of Health has issued advice to doctors and is requiring warnings on all antidepressants to indicate possible increased suicide risk and the need to closely monitor patients with depression, particularly young persons.

The Commission is now working on cases where young people have committed suicide while in mental health care and assisting families through the complaint processes. Suicide is a big issue; according to the Chief Coroner, 511 suicides were reported in the year ended in June, surpassing road deaths.

“One is too many, these are devastating events that are generally ignored, until it happens to your family or a close friend, when it is too late. This is why the Commission is now working on this level and holding public exhibitions, to help educate people – information empowers people and this is vital,” Mr Green said.

The display highlights the absolute need to reform key areas of mental health treatment,” Green says and he cites the continued use of electric shock as well as the many abuses that have occurred within New Zealand psychiatry, like electric shocking children in the 1970s, the experimental use of deep sleep treatment and electro leucotomies on women in Nelson in the 1950s.

The 40-metre exhibition presents the often-brutal history of psychiatry in a series of panels and videos documenting over a century of human rights abuses around the world. Over 150 experts in medicine, law, psychiatry, education, etc were interviewed. The documentary comes with a warning however as no punches are pulled: it has an R-18 certificate.

CCHR was co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus from the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse. As an international mental health watchdog they have successfully achieved hundreds of legislative protections against psychiatric abuse.

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Contact information:

Steve Green

Executive Director

Citizens Commission on Human Rights

cchr@xtra.co.nz www.cchr.org.nz

Clare Swinney

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