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Karate criminal slashed in jail is awarded €28,000


Michael Ryan, a 41-year-old father of two was awarded €28k

Michael Ryan, a 41-year-old father of two was awarded €28k

Michael Ryan, a 41-year-old father of two was awarded €28k

a convicted criminal jailed for his part in a botched bid to steal €855,000 from a cash-in-transit van seven years ago was awarded €28,000 damages yesterday for injuries inflicted on him in a gang attack in prison.

Karate black belt Michael Ryan, a 41-year-old father-of-two, of Carton Drive, Poppintree, Ballymun, was beaten and slashed by four other prisoners while serving a three-year sentence in Mountjoy Prison for conspiring with others to steal the money.


Judge Pauline Codd in a reserved judgment in the Circuit Civil Court decided the prison authorities were negligent in and breached their duty of care to Ryan after he had been attacked twice in 24 hours.

Barrister Laurence Masterson, for Ryan, had told the court his client was suing the governor, the Prison Service and the Justice Minister for an attack on October 26, 2010 when he was slashed with a "shiv" - a blade melted into the plastic handle of a toothbrush.

He said Ryan was not making a big deal about a brief attack on the previous day when "a few digs" had been thrown and he had been accused of "squealing".

Judge Codd, in her judgment, said Ryan had been hit over the head with a broom handle in the second attack and lacerated on several areas of his scalp with the shiv. He had bled profusely and had to have his wounds stitched.

She said three of Ryan's assailants had been involved in both attacks and it was his case that, following the initial "orchestrated" attack, the second assault was reasonably foreseeable and the prison authorities ought to have taken steps to secure his safety.

Judge Codd said a prison officer had asked all parties on October 25 if their issue was finished with and he had taken them at their word that it was.

He had moved Ryan's three attackers "to base" that night to give them an opportunity to cool down.

Following the second attack, during which a broom handle was broken over Ryan's head, he had been allowed to serve out his sentence in Wheatfield Prison.

The judge said Ryan had approached his attackers on the landing the following day to check that everything was finished between them and he had been attacked again by them and a fourth prisoner.

Judge Codd said it was foreseeable that Ryan could be attacked again. Informal assurances that the matter was at an end were insufficient to relieve the prison authorities of their obligation to ensure Ryan was not further targeted.


The judge said Ryan, by approaching his attackers the following day and by failing to warn the authorities of his fear and need of protection, was guilty of serious contributory negligence, but this had not been pleaded in the defence and the court could not make any deduction in its €28,000 damages award, with costs.

In February 2010, Ryan admitted his part in the conspiracy to steal €855,000 from Chubb Ireland outside Tesco in Shackleton Road, Celbridge, Co Kildare, on December 2, 2007.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard gardai had been watching the gang from when they left Ballymun in four vehicles until their arrival and arrest while trying to gain entry to the transit van at Tesco.