In­mate: Laois is a for­eign county

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Ann O’Lough­lin

A man serv­ing a 20-year sen­tence aris­ing from the shoot­ing of pub­li­can Char­lie Chawke has failed to get a High Court in­quiry into his de­ten­tion on grounds that he is il­le­gally de­tained in a “cul­tur­ally for­eign and alien” county, Co Laois, where the peo­ple are “GAA sup­port­ers to a child”.

A man serv­ing a 20-year sen­tence aris­ing from the shoot­ing of pub­li­can Char­lie Chawke has failed to get a High Court in­quiry into his de­ten­tion on grounds he is il­le­gally de­tained in an “alien” county, Co Laois, where the peo­ple are “GAA sup­port­ers to a child”.

Frank Ward has been de­tained since 2010 in the Mid­lands Prison, Port­laoise, and al­leged his rights were breached due to be­ing de­tained in “in­ter­nal ex­ile” in a county “cul­tur­ally for­eign and alien” out­side the ge­o­graph­i­cal ju­ris­dic­tion of the orig­i­nal sen­tenc­ing court in Dublin. This de­ten­tion came as a “mon­u­men­tal cul­ture shock” to him, he claimed.

In re­fus­ing an in­quiry un­der Article 40 of the Con­sti­tu­tion into the le­gal­ity of his de­ten­tion, Mr Jus­tice David Bar ni ville said the grounds ad­vanced were “spu­ri­ous” and “um­mer­i­to­ri­ous”.

There was “noth­ing un­fair” or con­trary to Ward’s fun­da­men­tal rights in an or­der trans­fer­ring him from Moun­tjoy Prison to the Mid­lands Prison noth­with­stand­ing the peo­ple of Co Laois may be “GAA sup­port­ers”, the judge said.

Nor was there any ba­sis for com­plaints of un­fair ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­tance from the ap­pli­cant’s fam­ily as there were “ex­cel­lent road and rail links from Port­laoise”.

The claim Ward was in­ter­nally ex­iled out­side the ge­o­graph­i­cal ju­ris­dic­tion of the court that sen­tenced him, Dublin Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court, has no merit, he ruled.

There was also “no ba­sis what­so­ever” for claims the de­ten­tion in the Mid­lands Prison breached the ap­pli­cant’s rights un­der the Eu­ro­pean Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights, in­clud­ing to lib­erty and se­cu­rity and not to have a heav­ier penalty im­posed on him. Ward, aged in his 60s, of Knock­more Av­enue, Tal­laght, was sen­tenced in Oc­to­ber 2007 for his role in an in­ci­dent out­side Mr Chawke’s bar, The Goat Grill, Goat­stown, Dublin, on Oc­to­ber 6, 2003.

Mr Chawke was se­ri­ously in­jured in the shoot­ing and his right leg was am­pu­tated five days later.

Ward was given two life sen­tences on charges of in­ten­tion­ally caus­ing se­ri­ous harm to Mr Chawke and rob­bery of €48,652 in cash and cheques.

The Court of Crim­i­nal Ap­peal in Jan­uary 2012 quashed the life sen­tences and re­placed them with sen­tences of 20 years on each count, to run con­cur­rently from Oc­to­ber 2003.

Dur­ing his de­ten­tion, Ward has made sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions seek­ing his re­lease.

In the lat­est ap­pli­ca­tion, Ward, rep­re­sent­ing him­self, ap­plied for an in­quiry, un­der Article 40 on grounds the cir­cum­stances of his de­ten­tion in the Port­laoise prison amounted to un­law­ful de­ten­tion.

He ar­gued the 2012 war­rant of the ap­peal court was ad­dressed to the gov­er­nor of Moun­tjoy Prison and di­rected the gov­er­nor to take him into cus­tody at the Dublin prison.

In his judg­ment, Mr Jus­tice Bar­niville said it seemed the grounds on which it was claimed the de­ten­tion was un­law­ful was be­cause Ward has been sen­tenced to “in­ter­nal ex­ile” in the Mid­lands Prison, hav­ing been trans­ferred there from Moun­tjoy and this had come as a “mon­u­men­tal cul­ture shock” to him.

Ward claimed this was achieved by ex­ec­u­tive or­der “with­out warn­ing or con­sul­ta­tion and with­out any ju­di­cial or­der”, he noted.

There was no obli­ga­tion to con­sult and there are sev­eral le­gal de­ci­sions to the ef­fect a com­mit­tal or­der ap­plies to any prison to which the Prison Acts ap­ply, the judge said.

He also dis­missed claims the trans­fer set Ward’s com­mit­tal war­rant at nought be­cause he was now out­side the ge­o­graph­i­cal ju­ris­dic­tion of the Dublin sen­tenc­ing court.

While Ward com­plained he was never shown a trans­fer or­der, the court had no rea­son to be­lieve a trans­fer or­der was not made un­der the rel­e­vant law at the time of the trans­fer and the ap­pli­cant had shown no ev­i­dence to the con­trary.

There was no ba­sis for an Article 40 in­quiry, he con­cluded.

Frank Ward: He is serv­ing a 20-year sen­tence aris­ing from the shoot­ing of pub­li­can Char­lie Chawke and ob­jects to be­ing de­tained in an ‘alien’ county, Laois.

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