Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 24 May 2015

Loyalist paedophile Mark Harbinson wins jail poppy challenge

Mark Harbinson pictured at Drumcree July 2000
Mark Harbinson pictured at Drumcree July 2000

Jail chiefs are to review their policy on the wearing of poppies by inmates after a legal challenge by a loyalist paedophile, the High Court heard.

An adjudication made against Mark Harbinson for refusing to remove the emblem is also to be cancelled.

Harbinson (46) is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for sexually abusing a schoolgirl (13).

Harbinson, from Sheepwalk Road, Stoneyford, Antrim, launched judicial review proceedings following an incident over a poppy at HMP Magilligan.

Peter Coll, for the Prison Service, said that Harbinson was held to be wearing the poppy outside the designated period, adding: “He received an order to remove it, wouldn't comply with it and was adjudicated accordingly.”

Mr Coll said Harbinson's application could now be withdrawn, adding: “The Prison Service are prepared to cancel the adjudication, alter their records to reflect the fact that the adjudication has been cancelled, and will undertake to reconsider the poppy-wearing policy within HMP Magilligan.”

On that basis Mr Justice Treacy agreed to dismiss the case and award costs to Harbinson. The judge added: “It seems a fairly comprehensive victory.”

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