Thursday 29 September 2016

GAA murder case: Family of accused - who killed himself in jail - settles damages claim for €50k

Tim Healy

Published 25/01/2016 | 18:09

The funeral of James Hughes (inset right); Shane Rogers (inset left)
The funeral of James Hughes (inset right); Shane Rogers (inset left)

THE family of a murder accused who killed himself in a cell - despite being on a suicide watch - have settled their High Court damages action for €50,000.

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Shane Rogers was found unconscious in a holding cell at Cloverhill Courthouse in Dublin on December 20, 2011. He was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead an hour later.

Shane Rogers, who took his own life while in custody
Shane Rogers, who took his own life while in custody

Mr Rogers (32) had been on remand charged with the murder of GAA player James Hughes in Dundalk, Co Louth, in December 2011.  He had also been accused of shooting a taxi driver and a woman with whom he had previously had a relationship.

His death was the subject of a report complied by inspector of prisons, Judge Michael Reilly, who identified several failings by the prison authorities in relation to the death.

Read more: Rogers told garda he planned to take his own life

His family brought an  action seeking damages for mental shock and distress against the Governor of Cloverhill Prison, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General.

Murdered GAA footballer James Hughes and Shane Rogers
Murdered GAA footballer James Hughes and Shane Rogers
Shane Rogers: 'crossed line'
Former Crossmaglen GAA player James Hughes, who was fatally shot
The scene at Lis Na Dara in Dundalk after the fatal shooting of James Hughes

It was claimed the prison authorities failed to search Mr Rogers for the cord he used to kill himself.

It was also claimed he was not provided with any adequate psychological assessment or treatment during the time he was at the prison.

There was also a monitoring  failure as well as an inadequate system to communicate details relating to fragile and vulnerable prisoners for different prison officers, it was claimed.

The action came before Ms Justice Deidre Murphy who approved the settlement.

Read more: 'It's a thin line and I crossed it tonight'

In his report on the death, Judge Reilly identified a number of deficiencies including the failure of organs of the prison system to communicate with each other and a failure to adhere to stated work practices.  He also found an absence of governance to ensure compliance with standard operating procedures and inadequate record keeping.

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