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Killer MacArthur took legal action to win his freedom

KILLER Malcolm MacArthur was granted a phased release programme as new High Court proceedings over his continued detention loomed.

MacArthur was preparing to make a new submission based on documents released to him under the Freedom of Information Act, the Herald can reveal.

He was to claim his continued 29-year detention was unlawful on the grounds that previous reports on his suitability for release were riddled with "lies".

Favourable recommendations from the review body which advises on release dates for "lifers" went unheeded by senior justice officials over a number of years.


He contested that aspects of the reports released to him, which had been submitted about this suitability for a release programme, were untrue.

As the court hearing loomed, new Justice Minister Alan Shatter gave the go-ahead for the programme.

The Department of Justice said proceedings initiated against the minister in 2005 "have never been brought to finality".

MacArthur began on an am/pm programme in October being allowed out from 8am to 6pm. This was then extended to a two-day programme which included an overnight. The next phase was a weekend leave.

He is now expected to be released next year after an extended Christmas leave period.

The programme was established after MacArthur got information through the Freedom of Information Act relating to his continued incarceration.

He insisted that the reason for his continued jailing was based on "lies" including various reports made about him.

They stated wrongly that that he was uncooperative and that he was wasn't working with the system .

"They simply were not true and he knew they could not be backed up in an open court," said a prison source.

In fact, in his eight years in Shelton Abbey he has not had a single P19 report -- a breach of discipline recorded by staff- against him.


"He is very much his own man and he decided he was not going to take this any longer," a source explained.

On the basis of what he learned under the FOI he made new submissions which were to be part of proceedings against the State, expected to get under way in the New Year.