Escapee's solitary confinement for eight months was 'unlawful'
A prisoner who escaped from a Dublin hospital has been unlawfully held in virtual solitary confinement for eight months in a Northern Ireland jail, a High Court judge has ruled. Mr Justice Maguire said that authorities have so far failed to show the use of such a "drastic" option was necessary for Derek Brockwell.
He confirmed his intention to quash the decision to keep the 55-year-old in a unit restricting his association at HMP Maghaberry.
Prison chiefs are to be given a chance to reconsider and potentially make a legally justified decision before the court order is formalised.
Brockwell, a Glaswegian, is in jail awaiting trial for robbery in Belfast. He is accused of carrying out raids armed with a knife before police tasered and recaptured him at a bar in the city in February 2015.
He was taken to hospital for treatment to stab wounds reported to have been self-inflicted as police moved in to arrest him. The alleged offences were committed after he escaped from custody in the Republic.
The court heard how he fled while attending Dublin's Tallaght Hospital while getting medical treatment for a diabetic condition.
During the incident, two prison guards escorting him to the appointment were seriously injured by a sharp-edged weapon.
Following his recapture, Brockwell was returned to Frankland Prison in Durham.
But in October 2016 he was transferred to Maghaberry in order to face trial for the alleged robberies.