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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
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Convicted drug dealer denies calling prison officer "a dog"

Patrick Irwin is serving at 10-year term at Mountjoy Prison.

Image: Sam Boal

A CONVICTED DRUG dealer has launched a High Court challenge over being disciplined after he was found to have called a prison officer ” a dog”.

The action has been taken by Patrick Irwin, who is serving a 10-year term at Mountjoy Prison, who was the subject of a formal complaint made by a senior prison officer to the Prison Governor last June.

The officer said that while they were in the prison’s visiting area Irwin verbally abused her after she had instructed prisoners and visitors to move off benches they had been sitting on and to sit on seats provided.

The officer said Irwin had said “she is only a dog” to her and had tried to intimidate her.

Irwin, when brought before the governor some days later denied the complaints against him, describing them as “a pack of lies”.

Complaint

The complaint was considered by a Prison Governor who found that Irwin had engaged in misconduct in regard to calling the prison officer a dog. The governor issued Irwin with a caution and a warning as to future behaviour towards staff.

Another complaint arising out of the same incident against Irwin was deemed by the governor to be unproven.

Irwin however has brought a High Court judicial review action claiming that he was denied fair procedures during the disciplinary hearing.

He claims there was a failure by the governor to call witnesses Irwin had requested and a failure to examine CCTV of the incident which Irwin wanted viewed.

He also claims there was a failure by the governor to properly consider the testimony given during the hearing.

No proper reasons were given why Irwin was not allowed call or question witnesses during the hearing or why CCTV was not viewed or considered, Irwin also claims.

In all the circumstances, Irwin says the disciplinary finding against him should be quashed. He is concerned that the finding may impact on his bid for parole.

Irwin says that during his term of imprisonment he has been the subject of a number of disciplinary complaints but has never been involved in any altercations with or abuse of prison staff.

In proceedings against the Governor of Mountjoy Prison and the Minister for Justice and Equality Irwin seeks an orders including one quashing the decision he was in breach of prison discipline.

Irwin also seeks declarations that the governor and the Minister breached his rights to fair procedures, acted outside of their powers and in breach of natural and constitutional justice in deciding he broken the prison rules.

He also seeks damages.

Sentence

The matter came before Mr Justice Robert Haughton at yesterday’s vacation sitting of the High Court. The Judge adjourned the matter to a date in October when the new legal term commences.

In 2011 Irwin was convicted at Dublin Circuit Court for an offence under the Misue of drugs Act. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In 2013 he was convicted before Sligo Circuit Court of assaulting a garda and received a three-year term of imprisonment to run consecutive to the first sentence.

With remission he is due for release in August 2018.

Comments are closed as this case is before the courts.

Read: GSOC: ‘Gardaí are damned if they do, damned if they don’t’>

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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