8th January 2020
In an early pre-Christmas Broadcast, the case of the brain damaged homeless man being held on remand in Mountjoy prison was highlighted following Mr. Justice Peter Kelly’s, the President of the High Court, directing papers to be served on the Minister for Justice, HSE, The Irish Prison Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The unfortunate individual has been detained on remand for a period in excess of one year in the high dependency unit of Mountjoy in appallingly filthy conditions, pending allegations of assault against two security officers who approached him while sheltering in the women’s toilets of a Dublin shopping centre.
The policy of the prison that Wardens should not invade a prisoner’s personal space was commented on as there must be many more such prisoners who are deficient in their ability to maintain their personal care, a policy which Seamus Gunn thought should be reviewed in light of the court’s comments.
Further, what is striking about the case is that as far back as March 2019 following an assessment by a doctor, the accused was deemed unfit to plead so at that point it should have become clear that the case was not likely to go to Trial but the individual continued on remand. Seamus Gunn described it as “no man’s land”. The accused could not be discharged because he would be at risk and there were no facilities to cater for him. He suggested that bail hostels were not available for such cases and that statistics were not forthcoming as to the number of persons similarly affected. He said that this further highlighted the necessity for the assistant decision making capacity act of 2015 being implemented in full as there was a mechanism therein to short circuit wardship applications which it is understood is now being processed in this case which he said was the responsibility of the HSE. It is likely that a number of other such examples shall be forthcoming in the coming months to address this awful situation.
Listen to the full Highland Radio Interview Below