Sunday 27 May 2018

Convicted rapist loses privileges after being caught with mobile phone in jail

Midlands prison
Midlands prison

Patrick O'Connell

Convicted rapist Christy Griffin has had his jailhouse privileges withdrawn after being caught with a contraband mobile phone in his Midlands Prison cell.

The armed robber – whose conviction for raping a young girl in 2007 sparked a deadly Dublin feud – was caught with the phone in his cell on Sunday two weeks ago.

Sources confirmed Griffin was subsequently removed from his cell in the jail’s G-wing and transferred to C-wing.

A P19 disciplinary hearing in relation to the discovery of the contraband phone was held the following Tuesday and Griffin was found guilty of a breach of prison rules.

The phone was subsequently handed over to Gardaí for analysis.

Since May 2007, it is an offence under the Prisons Act for an inmate, without the permission of the governor, to possess or use a mobile phone.

Inmates caught with a mobile phone can be sentenced to a further five years imprisonment and a fine of €10,000, if convicted on indictment.

A summary case in the District Court can result in a 12-month jail sentence and a €5,000 fine.

Griffin, who in January marked his 10th year in the Midlands Prison, has now served two thirds of a 15-year sentence that was reduced from life on appeal.

In January he filed a petition for Habeas Corpus in the High Court which, if granted, would have in effect had the result of ruling his continued detention illegal. However, court records show the application was refused on an ‘ex-parte’ basis in April.

Griffin’s move to secure release was met with alarm in the north inner city, where five men died as part of the Sheriff Street feud.

“Christy Griffin’s release has the potential to kick off a fresh wave of violence,” said a source at the time.

Griffin was a senior member of a gang of over 30 men and women who were involved in the drugs trade as well as stealing from cargo containers in Dublin’s docklands.

But when allegations surfaced back in 2003 that he had been repeatedly raping his partner’s daughter they caused a split in the gang.

One side of the crime syndicate remained loyal to Griffin while another group believed the victim’s allegations and turned on him.

Two tense trials followed during which Gardai were forced to set up an armed checkpoint outside the victim’s family home.

When the jury failed to reach a verdict at his first trial at the Central Criminal Court, in May 2006, there were violent scenes outside the Four Courts when associates of Griffin clashed with family friends of the rape victim in front of frightened onlookers.

Throughout that summer, tensions mounted in the north city and Griffin moved out of the area before he was eventually jailed.

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