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Judge Bruce R. Henry’s oral decision

(Judge Henry gave his decision from the bench yesterday afternoon at 3:20 p.m.)

“Thank you.

“I have reviewed all of the information that was put before me, particularly most recently from Dr. Wollheim, from Dr. Brooks.

“But also I have reviewed the information that came in at the time of trial, I have revised my notes. And I spent considerable time with the statute to make sure that I did follow the law.

“I understand the Commonwealth’s argument and their request that I look at all of this through the lens of what has happened here and what the rationale may be for Ms. Tang’s cooperation and her treatment. But as I look at what the statute requires:

“The statute says that I shall not order commitment unless the person is mentally ill, and I think there is ample evidence that Anna Tang is mentally ill. I don’t think that that is seriously in dispute.

And that discharge would create a likelihood of serious harm. Or that she’s mentally ill and failure to retain her in the strict custody would create a likelihood of serious harm. And I think in those respects the Commonwealth has not met its burden.

No one has testified that there is a substantial risk of harm to Ms. Tang, or anybody else, at this point in time. And under the terms of the statue, if either of those requirements are not met, the statute is clear. Otherwise the petition shall be dismissed and the person discharged.

“That I think is the only option open to me based on the state of the evidence that’s before me. So for those reasons I will order the petition for commitment be dismissed and that Ms. Tang be discharged.

“I can only encourage you, Ms. Tang, to keep up with that treatment program which you are undergoing at this point in time. I cannot require it under the law. But according to everybody you’ve made terrific progress in that treatment program.

“So my recommendation to you is that you ‘keep with it’ — that you follow that plan that was so carefully outlined. So I wish you well in doing that.

“But I will dismiss and discharge Ms. Tang. Thank you all.”