Segregation of Dundon brothers in prison 'justified', High Court rules
THE continued segregation in prison of two brothers serving life for murder is justified providing a review of their situation is carried out every three months, the High Court ruled.
Mr Justice John Hedigan said the court was satisfied there are reasonable grounds to believe the segregation of John and Desmond Dundon, along with a third prisoner, Nathan Killeen, is necessary.
"The history of each, including the crimes of which they have been convicted, and their disciplinary history as prisoners, is very striking", the judge said.
It "would give cause for alarm to anyone responsible for their security and that of those with whom they would normally congregate," he said.
The judge said the first review by the director general of prisons of the segregation order should take place in three months time.
The Dundons and Killeen brought a legal challenge alleging their segregation in Portlaoise's maximum security prison breached their rights and the prison rules.
The three claimed they were locked up for 22 hours in the unit, known as "the block", and are denied education, gym and vocational facilities.
John Dundon (29), Hyde Park, Limerick, was jailed for life last August after being convicted of the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan at Dorradoyle in 2008 in a case of mistaken identity.
Desmond Dundon was jailed for the murder of rival Limerick crime boss Kieran Keane in Jan 2002.
Nathan Killeen (22), also from Limerick, is serving a five-year sentence for violent disorder.
"Their segregation although a most undesirable measure, seems the minimum necessary to ensure the safety of the prison and its inhabitants", the judge said.
"Their interaction with other prisoners and prison staff seems at the very heart of the risk they pose," he said.
The judge also noted it is planned to move the three men to a new unit in the prison which has a full gym, kitchenette and large classroom as well as a yard to themselves.
The good order of a prison and the safety of the prisoners as a body may at times require that certain prisoners , notably those of a violent disposition, be segregated from the main body of prisoners, he said.
"It is not an ideal or desirable situation but it must be obvious to all that such a situation is likely to arise where long term prisoners , particularly those convicted of offences involving extreme levels of violence are confined together in the same prison," the judge said.