Sunday 25 February 2018

Murderer of innocent Roy Collins launches High Court bid against decision to put him in solitary confinement

Nathan Killeen being arrested by gardai investigating the murder of Roy Collins in Ballinacurra-Weston, Limerick just hours after the fatal gun attack in 2009.
Nathan Killeen being arrested by gardai investigating the murder of Roy Collins in Ballinacurra-Weston, Limerick just hours after the fatal gun attack in 2009.

Aodhan O Faolain & Ray Managh

Convicted murderer Nathan Killeen has launched a High Court challenge against a decision of the prison authorities to place him in solitary confinement.

Killeen, who is one of three men currently serving a life sentence for the the murder of innocent father of two Roy Collins in 2009, claims that earlier this month he was moved out of the general prison population at the Midlands Prison, where he is currently incarcerated, and placed in isolation.

In mid May he claims the prison authorities moved to a segregated unit at Portlaoise Prison for a week, before being moved back to the Midlands Prison where he remains in his cell for 23 hours a day. He is also permitted one hour's recreation per day. 

Read more here: Father of murdered Roy Collins hopes family can return to Limerick some day 

Roy Collins, who was mudered by the Dundon gang
Roy Collins, who was mudered by the Dundon gang

His barrister Micheal O'Higgins SC, appearing with Keith Higgins, told the High Court on Thursday that Killeen was informally told he was being isolated on an allegation he was "moving drugs through the prison." Counsel said Killeen accepted having a small amount of drugs for personal use in the prison two months ago. 

However his client has not been formally charged with any breach of prison discipline, nor has he been formally told why he has been placed in solitary confinement.

Read more here: Defiant Collins family of murdered Roy Collins return to Limerick for inquest  

Killeen's solicitors wrote to the prison authorities challenging their decision. Counsel said the solicitors were informed Nathan's behaviour was such to allow him associate with other prisoners would result in a "significant threat to the maintenance of good order" in the prison system.

That reply, counsel said, was "vague" and no reasons to justify the detnetion of his cleint in isolation had been advanced.

In proceedings against the Irish Prison Service, the Minister for Justice, the Governors of both The Midland's and Portlaoise prisons Killeen wants the decision to place him in solitary confinement quashed. He also seeks an order that he be allowed return to the mainstream prison population.   

He also seeks declarations including the decision to place him in isolation without providing him reasons is a breach of his legal and constitutional rights.

The matter came before Mr Justice Ray Fullam, at Thursday's vacation sitting of the High Court. The judge granted Killeen, who was not present in court, permission to bring the proceedings.

The application was brought ex-parte, where only one side was present in court. The Judge adjourned the matter till mid June.

Last July, Killeen and co-accused Wayne Dundon were found guilty by the non jury Special Criminal Court of the murder of Roy Collins. 

Read more here: Roy Collins inquest: 'He told me he loved me and he loved his mom' - Steve 

Killeen (25) of Hyde Road, Prospect, Limerick and Dundon (37) of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, Limerick and  both pleaded not guilty to the murder of the 35-year-old Roy Collins at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre in April 2009.

The State claimed Wayne Dundon directed the murder from prison, Killeen was the getaway driver and a third man James Dillon was the gunman. 

The three judge court relied on evidence given by convicted murderer Anthony ‘Noddy’ McCarthy (33) who said his first cousin, Wayne Dundon, ordered the murder.

Read more here: Roy Collins murderer avoids prosecution for 2008 murder 

The Special Criminal Court also found there was forensic evidence that proved Killeen had been in close contact with firearm residue on the morning of the shooting.

During what was  lengthy trial before the Special Criminal Court State said Dundon was the person who directed the operation and was behind the entire enterprise, while Killeen was the instrument and means of his intention.

Killeen had a role in organising the directions of Dundon; sourcing what and who was necessary to complete Dundon’s intention while playing an important role on the day itself, the State also said.

On April 9, 2009 Roy Collins went about an ordinary day’s work, adding that one of the striking things about the case was that Mr Collins was a hard-working man who had no enemies or any cause to fear he would be shot dead as he was.

Five years ago Dillon (29), of no fixed abode but originally from the southside of Limerick city, pleaded guilty to the murder.  All three are serving life sentences for the murder.

The murder was linked to a trial in May 2005 when Wayne Dundon was found guilty of threatening to kill the stepson of publican Steve Collins, who is Roy Collins’ father.  Dundon received a ten year sentenced for making a threat to shoot Ryan Lee in Brannigan’s pub in Limerick city.

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