The head of a Drogheda- based criminal gang, Cornel- ius Price, was not kept in prison 24 hours longer than necessary as he had claimed, the Court of Appeal has found.
In a judgment returned yesterday, the three-judge court dismissed Price's appeal against a ruling that upheld how the governor of Wheatfield Prison calculated his release date on a three-year jail sentence.
Prisoners in Ireland are automatically entitled to a reduction of one quarter in their sentence in remission.
The court found Price's alternative calculation of remission - based on months rather than days - was "contrary to logic".
Lawyers for Price (38), of Rockleigh House, Richards- town, Gormanstown, Co Meath, argued "the appropriate and more correct way to calculate remission" and therefore the sentence re- quired to be served was to express it in terms of months rather than days.
Upholding the High Court's decision yesterday, Ms Justice Maire Whelan said the method of calculation of Price's standard remission was correct.
In May last year, the High Court dismissed Price's challenge on the basis it would create uncertainty and potential injustice if the length of a sentence varied depending on the time of year it was served.
Price was convicted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February 2017 on a count of recklessly engaging in conduct that created a substantial risk of death or harm.
The charge related to an incident at Balbriggan garda station on January 22, 2014, during which Price drove a van at high speed at Garda Gary Dillane, which forced him to jump out of its path.
In October, the Court of Appeal heard that Price, whose sentence began on February 17, 2017, was released from custody on May 18 last year after being entitled to a quarter remission off his full sentence.
Price claimed he was advised by the governor of Wheatfield Prison that he was en- titled to be released on May 18, 2019 on the basis of serving three-quarters of his full sentence, calculated by days, once remission was taken into account.
The father-of-two maintained he should have been released on May 17, based on an alternative method of using months to calculate a fraction of a year.
Counsel for Price, Paul Carr- oll, said the current position of how the Irish Prison Service (IPS) calculated release dates was "very unsatisfactory" and not based on any statutory provision, rules or written policy.
He claimed an alternative method of calculating release dates based on months was "equally valid".
Mr Carroll said Price should have been released 24 hours earlier than he was from prison.
"It's not good enough when we are talking about someone's liberty," he said.
Counsel for the governor of Wheatfield Prison, Lorcan Staines, said the most numerically accurate way for calculating a release date as a fraction of a year was by days.
He pointed out that a rounding-down approach operated by the IPS had also benefited Price.
Ms Justice Whelan, who sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the three-judge court were satisfied that the appellant's detention was lawful for the 24-hour period in dispute and the trial judge had been correct in his determination.
The appeal was therefore dismissed.