Thompson takes court action over prison transfer
FREDERICK "Freddie" Thompson has brought a legal action over a decision to transfer him from Cloverhill Prison in Dublin to Cork Prison while he awaits sentence for violent disorder.
Thompson (33) from Loreto Road, Maryland, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to engaging in violent disorder at Morrissey's Pub, Cork Street, on January 7, 2013.
He was remanded in custody until his sentence hearing on February 2 next year.
At the High Court, his lawyers secured permission to seek judicial review of a decision to transfer him to Cork Prison which arose out of a decision to discipline him over an incident for which he says he was not to blame.
In proceedings against the governor of Cloverhill Prison, the Irish Prison Service, and Minister for Justice and Equality, Thompson seeks various orders and declarations aimed at quashing his transfer to Cork as well as damages.
Permission to bring the action, which was sought with only the Thompson side represented, was granted by Mr Justice Michael Peart who said the matter could come back before the court next month.
Moving the application, Micheal O'Higgins SC for Thompson, said the transfer appeared to be part of disciplinary measures imposed on Thompson arising out of an incident that occurred on September 13 in the visitor's area of Cloverhill Prison.
Thompson says he was "violently attacked" by three other prisoners who were also present in the visitors area, counsel said. Those inmates were "separation prisoners" and should not have been in the visitors' area at the same time as his client, counsel claimed.
As a result of the incident, Thompson, who says he was not to blame for it, was subject to a prisoner's disciplinary hearing. Counsel said he was found guilty of indiscipline and placed on punishment. That finding was upheld on appeal.
Thompson was segregated from the rest of prison population, denied privileges and personal visits, and placed on 22.5 hours lock-up per day.
He was deprived of exercise and access to any structured activities in the prison.
Counsel said his client is unhappy at how disciplinary procedures were conducted.
Thompson told the prison governor who conducted the procedings that he was not to blame. He was not allowed to have a legal representative present nor bring a friend to the hearing.
No formal record of what was said at the meeting was taken.
Counsel also said that the decision to place his client in segregation was unlawful.
In addition, his lawyer said Thompson was informed on September 25 last he would be returned to the general prison population.
This did not occur and he remained on the restricted regime without any valid reason being given to him.
He was transferred to Cork on September 30 and no reasons were given. Counsel said Thompson's family and his solicitor sought reasons why he was put into segregation and transferred.
They were not given any reason by the prison authorities, but first learned about the transfer to Cork from a news report that first appeared in the Herald.