Wednesday 18 September 2019

Killer sues prison over 'oppressive' treatment

‘Suffering’: Murderer Frederick ‘Freddie’ Thompson. Picture: Collins
‘Suffering’: Murderer Frederick ‘Freddie’ Thompson. Picture: Collins

Aodhan O Faolain

Convicted killer Frederick 'Freddie' Thompson has brought a High Court challenge over what he claims is the "extremely oppressive" and "severe" regime he is being subjected to at Portlaoise Prison.

Thompson (39), from Dublin's south inner city, is serving a life sentence he was given last year following his conviction at the Special Criminal Court for the murder of David Douglas in 2016.

Thompson has been serving his sentence in Wing A4 - known as the punishment block - of Portlaoise Prison since March 2018.

He claims that, in breach of his human rights, he is allowed contact with only two other prisoners and spends most of his time effectively on "lock-up" in his cell.

Thompson also claims he is being denied regular exercise, fresh air and education.

He says he was placed on rule 62 of the prison's regulations, which allows for the removal of prisoners from structured activities without reasons other than to ensure good order and security.

However, he claims he was taken off rule 62 some months ago but there has been no improvement.

At yesterday's sitting of the High Court, lawyers for Thompson started judicial review proceedings against the governor of Portlaoise Prison, the Irish Prison Service and the Minister for Justice, aimed at ending his detention away from the mainstream prison population.

His counsel, Padraig Dwyer, told the court his client's situation "is unbearable".

Thompson's mental health has been affected and his client is suffering from depression, he said.

In correspondence to Thompson's solicitors, the governor and Irish Prison Service denied Thompson's regime was oppressive and said it met all the statutory requirements.

They say Thompson has been provided with access to facilities including the school, gym, recreation, open-air exercise and other services.

Irish Independent

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