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Killer Louis Maguire's legal bid to reverse prison 'denial of education'

By Alan Erwin

Published 02/06/2016

A man jailed for shooting dead his wife's former lover has launched legal action over an alleged denial of education
A man jailed for shooting dead his wife's former lover has launched legal action over an alleged denial of education

A man jailed for shooting dead his wife's former lover has launched legal action over an alleged denial of education.

Louis Maguire is challenging the Northern Ireland Prison Service amid claims that he has been excluded from the classroom for 19 months.

The High Court heard yesterday that the dispute includes allegations of being kept out of a ceramics course.

Maguire (50) is serving a minimum 24-year sentence for the murder of David 'Digger' Barnes in Belfast in March 2003.

The attack saw gunmen break into a flat at Brookvale Avenue and shoot 39-year-old Mr Barnes as he lay in bed.

Maguire, formerly of Whinpark Road in Newtownards, Co Down, was said to have carried out the killing while on weekend leave from serving a prison sentence for robbery.

In 2006, he was jailed for the murder and a separate arson attack on the home of a relative of Mr Barnes. He is now seeking to judicially review the Prison Service for allegedly suspending him from educational courses.

Papers lodged by Maguire confirmed he was seeking to quash a decision refusing to let him return to classes unless he signs an "unwarranted" agreement, which claims that in any event the authorities are still refusing readmission to the ceramics class.

Maguire's lawyers contend the restriction breaches his human rights. The situation is understood to relate to an alleged complaint about Maguire's behaviour at HMP Maghaberry.

In court yesterday, barrister Andrew Moriarty said "positive indications" that his client would be allowed to return to classes had not yet been confirmed.

Following exchanges Mr Justice Colton adjourned the case until later this month.

Outside court Maguire's solicitor, Katie McAllister, claimed the refused access stretched back to November 2014.

She said: "It appears the decision was made on an arbitrary basis and without our client being afforded proper due process, which is wholly unacceptable and a concerning abuse of the prison's powers."

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