'Locked up 23 hours a day' - man on attempted murder charge sues

Caolan Smyth rejects claims that his life is at risk

Tim Healy

A man on remand pending trial for attempted murder has brought a High Court challenge over his detention in the Midlands Prison's segregation unit.

Caolan Smyth (28) claims that since being moved to the prison some months ago he has been locked up for 23 hours a day.

He says he has been told by the prison authorities that he is being kept away from other prisoners for his own safety due to a threat to his life.

Mr Smyth rejects claims his life is in danger and says his segregation from the general prison population is taking its toll on his physical and mental health.


Mr Smyth, of Cuileann Court, Donore, Co Meath, is charged with the attempted murder of James 'Mago' Gately, who was injured but survived after being shot five times at a Topaz garage in Clonshaugh, north Dublin, on May 10, 2017.

His trial is pending before the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

Mr Smyth also claims he is only permitted screened visits and is not given regular exercise.

He also cannot avail of the educational, vocational and recreational facilities that are available to other prisoners.

It is alleged the conditions of his detention amount to the imposition of a punishment without any disciplinary hearings being conducted.

Mr Smyth has never been asked nor consulted about his continued segregation.

He claims a breach of his constitutional rights, including his right to bodily integrity.

He also claims his right to prepare for his trial is not being respected and he cannot get visits from his lawyers after 5.30pm on weekdays.

His judicial review proceedings are against the governor of the Midlands Prison, the Irish Prison Service and the Justice Minister.

He seeks orders including one quashing the governor's decision to detain him in the segregation unit.

The case was mentioned this week before Mr Justice Senan Allen, who was told a timetable had been agreed between the parties that should result in the case being heard in the coming weeks. The judge adjourned the matter to next month.