Belfast Telegraph

Prisoner unlawfully punished, judge rules

By Alan Erwin

A self-proclaimed professional fighter-turned-prisoner role model was unlawfully punished following an en masse advancement to another inmate's cell, a High Court judge ruled today.

Mr Justice O'Hara held that authorities at HMP Maghaberry were wrong to restrict Albert Stewart's association rights and to find him guilty of a disciplinary offence.

Stewart was penalised over an incident at the jail last December.

Another prisoner, referred to only as Mr Aluya, was said to have been verbally abusing and behaving aggressively to other inmates.

A large group moved to his cell, with Stewart arriving after them.

He was seen on CCTV footage going to the front, but did not get involved in any physical altercation.

Mr Justice O'Hara held that a rule restricting association was wrongly invoked over a five-day period. With no evidence to back the charge of having confronted Aluya, the judge said there was nothing else Stewart could be punished for. Declarations were issued that it was unlawful to restrict his association.

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