Wednesday 17 January 2018

Prison riot ringleader gets two extra years in jail

Fiona Ferguson

A CORK man who was a "ringleader" in a violent incident in Mountjoy Prison has been given a two-year sentence consecutive to his current four-year term for robbery.

Stephen Whelan (29), of Castle Road, Blackrock, Cork, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at the prison on December 27, 2009. He has 62 previous convictions.

He is currently serving a four-year sentence for robbery imposed earlier this year and at the time of the incident he was serving a three-year sentence for a drugs offence.

Judge Patrick McCartan imposed a two-year sentence consecutive to his current sentence.

Garda Barry Brennan told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, that at 10.45am a large group of inmates jumped over railings and ran over a mesh surface to get to B3 landing. They gathered outside a particular cell shouting abuse.

The group had a variety of implements including the legs of tables and chairs and a number of different altercations were taking place among the inmates who were hitting each other.

Prison officers activated the alarm and when assistance arrived they separated the inmates and placed them into free cells. When all inmates were accounted for they were returned to their cells.

Gda Brennan said 17 people in total had been charged in relation to the incident.

He said that, on viewing the CCTV, he believed Whelan was one of the ringleaders as he was one of the first to jump over the railings and head to the rival gang’s cell.

One prison officer was out of work for three months after suffering a dislocated shoulder when he was hit with an iron bar. Two other officers received minor injuries.

One inmate was stabbed but refused to make a complaint to gardai.

Blaise O’Carroll SC, defending, said the matter had been a “spontaneous outburst” and Whelan was sorry for his involvement.

He asked the court to give Whelan some credit for his guilty plea which he said was an indication of his sorrow and remorse.

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