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Jailed rapist goes on hunger strike for 46 days in protest at conviction

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A man is on day 46 of a prison hunger strike in protest at his conviction for rape, the High Court heard.

Neither the man nor the prison can be named, by order of the court.

He is protesting because he says he is innocent, the court heard.

Yesterday, Paul Carroll SC, for the prison governor and the Irish Prison Service, said his clients were seeking declarations in relation to whether the prisoner had capacity to continue the hunger strike, whether the prison authorities were complying with the law in relation to the strike and "what should happen going forward".

The man's situation was becoming more serious, he has underlying health difficulties and has suffered a significant weight loss of some 13kg, counsel said. He is still taking liquids.

Counsel said his side were seeking permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on his solicitors and have the case returned to court within a day because the man is in serious danger, possibly at the risk of death.

The application was made on a one side only represented basis.

The man has no difficulties with his conditions in the prison and is aware the authorities were making this application, he said.

His solicitors are also aware and have enquired whether it would be possible for him to participate or observe the hearing via video link from prison.

The man has been in regular contact with his next of kin, his wife, counsel said.

Mr Justice Tony O'Connor granted permission for short service of the proceedings on the man's solicitors and said the case could come back this afternoon.

The court noted the request for video facilities and could only at this stage express its wish that such facilities be made available if possible.

Irish Independent