Belfast Telegraph

Staff 'must explain prison blunder'

Senior staff at Maghaberry involved in the new jail blunder which allowed a prisoner to walk free six weeks before his release date should be held to account, it has been claimed.

Justice Minister David Ford has demanded early answers for the accidental release of George Damien McFerran, 47, who was serving time for assault and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was the fourth prisoner in nine months to be freed ahead of his time.

McFerran was rearrested on Monday after being released from custody last Friday, six weeks before he was due to be discharged.

DUP chairman of the Assembly Justice Committee Paul Girvan said any investigation must include the role of senior management responsible for designing the current system.

He added: "Human error should be investigated but it would appear the systems are failing and those responsible for their design within the senior management of the Prison Service should also be held to account.

"People are rightly concerned that if mistakes of this kind continue to be made, then it is only a matter of time before a criminal is released accidentally and uses their new-found freedom to carry out other crimes."

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