Alleged IRA man convicted of rape fails in challenge to detention

Seamus Marley claimed prison authorities failed to provide him reasonable access to solicitor

Alleged IRA man Seamus Marley, who was jailed for raping two teenage boys in the early 1990s, has failed in a High Court application seeking his release from jail over what he claimed was a failure of prison authorities to provide him with reasonable access to his solicitor.

Mr Justice David Holland refused to direct an inquiry into the lawfulness of Mr Marley’s detention at the Midlands Prison where he is serving a seven-year sentence imposed on him in May 2019 for the offences.

In 2020, he was refused an extension of time to appeal that sentence after he had not done so within the required period. He last year brought proceedings alleging a miscarriage of justice in relation to his conviction.

Last month, he complained that he was not getting reasonable access to his solicitor to progress his miscarriage case as he was entitled to. He then brought separate High Court proceedings seeking to challenge his detention under Article 40.4 of the Constitution which deals with the lawfulness or unlawfulness of detentions.


On Friday, Mr Justice Holland refused to direct an inquiry under Article 40 but said he would treat Mr Marley’s case as an application for leave to bring a judicial review in which he could seek an order directing the governor of the Midlands Prison to deal with his complaint about reasonable access to lawyers.

The judge said he could not deal with the matter until he had further information and he directed that Mr Marley’s application for leave should be heard on notice to the prison governor and the State.

He noted, however, that this was a matter which was capable of resolution with “constructive engagement” that may not necessitate a hearing at all.

Marley (46), with an address in Belfield Court, Stillorgan Road, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at his 2019 trial to sexually assaulting and raping two boys in what the court heard was a “republican safe house” in Co. Louth on dates in the early 1990s.

A Central Criminal Court jury unanimously found him guilty on six counts of sexual assault and two counts of rape following a six-day trial.