herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

Murderer Shaw seeks days out after four decades in jail

Murderer John Shaw
Murderer John Shaw

The State's longest-serving prisoner is seeking extra time to appeal his unsuccessful High Court bid for two days of temporary release per year.

Englishman John Shaw (73) has been in custody here since September 1976 when he and fellow countryman Geoffrey Evans were arrested for the abduction, rape, torture and murder of Elizabeth Plunkett (22), in Co Wicklow, and Mary Duffy (24), in Co Mayo, that year.

Shaw and Evans were both given life sentences on February 9, 1978.

Evans died in 2012 from an infection after spending more than three years in a vegetative state.

Shaw's case has been the subject of a number of reviews, first by the Sentence Review Group and subsequently the Parole Board.

In April 2016, the Prison Review Committee noted Shaw was "very frustrated that he has never got a day out of prison in his 38 years in custody".

The following June, a dynamic risk assessment of Shaw found him to be at a "high-level risk of re-offending".

Areas of particular concern to the assessors were "poor problem-solving skills, negative emotionality, deviant sexual preference, hostility towards women, general social rejection and lack of concern for others".

Treatment

In 2016, the Parole Board recommended Shaw remain in Arbour Hill Prison to allow speedy access to medical treatment and that he be granted two days of escorted outings per year.

However, the justice minister did not support the recommendation for the escorted outings, which Shaw's lawyers challenged in the High Court.

In a judgment delivered last March, Ms Justice Mary Faherty said she was satisfied that Shaw had been "afforded the full panoply of fair procedures due to him". She dismissed his application for judicial review.

Shaw lodged an appeal against the High Court judgment six months out of date. He is seeking an extension of time to appeal the High Court judgment, which lawyers for the State are opposing.

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