Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Jails aren’t a shambles, insists David Ford

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Published 06/10/2010

Justice Minister David Ford has denied that the Prison Service is in a shambolic state after two prisoners were mistakenly released.

Connelly James Cummins (25) was accidentally let go after appearing in court last Friday — 48 hours after alleged rapist Devidas Paliutis (27) was erroneously set free from Maghaberry Prison.

The latest embarrassing incident to hit the Prison Service has sparked demands for a full audit to determine the number of times inmates have been wrongly released.

Cummins was accidentally allowed to walk free on Friday from Downpatrick courthouse where he had been produced to appear in relation to the alleged breach of a custody probation order.

The charge against him was dismissed and a custody prison officer let him go, not realising that he was still facing a number of other charges including aggravated vehicle taking.

Mr Ford said the errors should be viewed in the context of thousands of cases being dealt with without any issues. And he made it clear he was not in the business of “scapegoating” staff over the errors.

The minister was speaking after meeting members of the Prison Officers Association.

It came after the chairman of the Assembly Justice Committee, Lord Morrow, said the Northern Ireland Prison Service was not “fit for purpose”.

Lord Morrow was responding after it emerged on Monday that the second prisoner had been released in error by the Prison Service last week.

Meanwhile Finlay Spratt, from the Prison Officers’ Association, which represents about 1,800 rank-and-file officers, said the service was in a “complete and total mess” because of increased bureaucracy.

From the web

Sponsored Videos

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph