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The case concerns a death at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. Alamy Stock Photo
death in custody

GSOC finds 'no misconduct' by gardaí in case of man who died in court holding cell

The man (41) had requested prescribed medication that had been stored in a locker at the Criminal Court of Justice.

THERE WAS “NO misconduct” by gardaí in their handling of a man who later died in a court’s holding cell, according to an investigation by the Garda Ombudsman.

The investigation followed separate findings by the prisons regulator, published last Friday, which found that that the 42-year-old man had a health condition but collapsed in the cell and later died, minutes after asking a prison officer for his medication which had been stored in a locker.

The report from the Office of the Inspector of Prisons (OIP) examined the circumstances surrounding the death of the man after he was in the temporary custody of the Irish Prison Service (IPS).

It occurred at the Criminal Court of Justice (CCJ) in Dublin on 8 December, 2021.

The OIP report concluded that while gardaí had been provided with details of the man’s medical conditions and medication prescribed to treat them, “this level of detail was not provided” to the IPS during the handover for the holding of the man.

A number of recommendations were made for the IPS from that first report, including assigning a nurse to the CCJ for detainees and developing a Standard Operating Procedure to provide healthcare personnel with clear guidance for people who are in temporary custody after recently undergoing healthcare issues.

The latest report into the death, carried out by the Garda Ombudsman (GSOC), is understood to have examined the deceased man’s interactions with gardaí prior to his death.

“GSOC has concluded its independent investigation into this matter, and no misconduct on the part of An Garda Síochána was identified,” a spokesperson for GSOC said.

While the investigation has concluded, the GSOC file on the matter technically “remains open” as it is preparing a file for the Coroner’s Court in accordance with normal provisions.

The OIP report detailed the deceased man – known as Mr X – and his interactions with gardaí in 2021.

According to the report, the man had come to the attention of gardaí following a “minor” traffic incident.

Gardaí checked the PULSE system following this and discovered the man had an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear before the Courts in April 2010.

He was arrested by appointment at Clondalkin Garda Station on the morning of 8 December 2021. Mr X’s partner told the OIP that in the months preceding this he had been rushed to hospital with a cardiac related issue.

According to his partner, Mr X had provided gardaí with details of his health issues. These included a list of prescribed medication and informed them that he had to take a self-administered injection at specific times during the day. He had the medication he required in his possession when he was arrested.

Mr X was taken to the CCJ and transferred into the the care of the IPS and was placed in a holding cell.

According to the report, one of the prison officers responded to a cell call alarm from Mr X, who told them that he had to take a self-administered injection at 11:00.

The officer said he was not authorised to administer medication and would inform a nurse. Soon after, Mr X collapsed in his cell, and the prisoner officer heard a loud bang.

The officer said they found Mr. X face down on the cell floor with another prisoner hunched over him. Officers reported putting Mr. X in the recovery position and described him as being “short of breath, visibly perspiring and red in the face”.

A healthcare assistant arrived and helped officers in providing CPR. An officer reported that he received Mr X’s medication from the locker, but that it was not administered.

Resuscitation attempts continued before Mr X was taken to the Mater Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Contains reporting by Cormac Fitzgerald