Saturday 16 December 2017

High Court refuses constitutional inquiry into detention of convicted rapist

The Midlands Prison in Port Laoise, Co. Laois
The Midlands Prison in Port Laoise, Co. Laois

By Saurya Cherfi

A convicted rapist was today refused a constitutional inquiry by the High Court into the lawfulness of his detention in the Midlands Prison.

Barrister Carol Doherty told Mr Justice Paul McDermott that the prisoner believed he was entitled to an enhanced one-third remission of his sentence instead of the usual one-quarter.

The court heard the prisoner was sentenced to ten years in jail in 2007 after having been convicted of rape and sexual assault.

Ms Doherty said the prisoner would be released next month, if granted the usual quarter remission of sentence but ought to have been released in November last with the additional enhanced remission.

She told the court the prisoner had been engaged in authorised structured activities designed to prepare him for reintegration into society with a lessened likelihood to re-offend. He had obtained a University degree since his imprisonment.

Ms Doherty said the prisoner had believed he had to address his request for an early release to the Parole Board and as a result had been detained for an extra ten months unnecessarily.  He was of the opinion his request for enhanced remission was being dealt with by the Minister.

She said the prisoner was making his application on foot of a recent judgment by Mr Justice Michael Peart in which he had stated there was no clarity in Prison Rules as to how a prisoner was expected to go about making an application for additional remission.

Judge McDermott said the Prison Rules gave the Minister for Justice a right to exercise her discretion while considering a request for a one-third remission and he was not disposed to direct an Article 40 inquiry into the lawfulness of the prisoner’s detention.

He granted the prisoner leave to apply for judicial review on grounds that the Minister had failed to consider the prisoner’s application for a full remission.

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