Nathan Killeen challenges placing in solitary confinement

Man serving life for Roy Collins murder claims move to isolation at Midlands Prison

Heavy security  outside the Special Criminal Court in Dublin for the arrival of  Nathan Killeen in   February  2013. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Heavy security outside the Special Criminal Court in Dublin for the arrival of Nathan Killeen in February 2013. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Convicted murderer Nathan Killeen has launched a High Court challenge against a decision of the prison authorities to place him in solitary confinement.

Killeen, who is one of three men currently serving a life sentence for the murder of innocent father-of-two Roy Collins in 2009, claims that earlier this month he was moved out of the general prison population at the Midlands Prison, where he is currently incarcerated, and placed in isolation.

In mid-May he claims the prison authorities moved him to a segregated unit at Portlaoise Prison for a week, before being moved back to the Midlands Prison, where he remains in his cell for 23 hours a day.

He is also permitted one hour’s recreation per day.

His barrister Micheal O’Higgins SC, appearing with Keith Higgins, told the High Court on Thursday that Killeen was informally told he was being isolated on an allegation he was “moving drugs through the prison”.

Counsel said Killeen accepted having a small amount of drugs for personal use in the prison two months ago.

However, his client has not been formally charged with any breach of prison discipline, nor has he been formally told why he has been placed in solitary confinement.

Killeen’s solicitors wrote to the prison authorities challenging their decision. Counsel said the solicitors were informed Killeen’s behaviour was such that to allow him associate with other prisoners would result in a “significant threat to the maintenance of good order” in the prison system.

That reply, counsel said, was “vague”, and no reasons to justify the detention of his client in isolation had been advanced.

In proceedings against the Irish Prison Service, the Minister for Justice and the governors of both the Midlands and Portlaoise prisons, Killeen wants the decision to place him in solitary confinement quashed.

He also seeks an order that he be allowed return to the mainstream prison population.

Constitutional rights

He also seeks declarations including that the decision to place him in isolation without providing him with reasons is a breach of his legal and constitutional rights.

The matter came before Mr Justice Ray Fullam at Thursday’s vacation sitting of the High Court.

The judge granted Killeen, who was not present in court, permission to bring the proceedings.

The application was brought ex-parte, where only one side was present in court. The judge adjourned the matter till mid-June.

Last July, Killeen and co-accused Wayne Dundon were found guilty by the non-jury Special Criminal Court of the murder of Roy Collins.

Killeen (25), of Hyde Road, Prospect, Limerick and Dundon (37), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, Limerick and both pleaded not guilty to the murder of the 35-year-old Roy Collins at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre in April 2009.

The State claimed Wayne Dundon directed the murder from prison, Killeen was the getaway driver and a third man, James Dillon, was the gunman.

The three-judge court relied on evidence given by convicted murderer Anthony “Noddy” McCarthy (33), who said his first cousin, Wayne Dundon, ordered the murder.

The Special Criminal Court also found there was forensic evidence that proved Killeen had been in close contact with firearm residue on the morning of the shooting.

Lengthy trial

During what was a lengthy trial before the Special Criminal Court, the State said Dundon was the person who directed the operation and was behind the entire enterprise, while Killeen was the instrument and means of his intention.

Killeen had a role in organising the directions of Dundon, and in sourcing what and who was necessary to complete Dundon’s intention, while playing an important role on the day itself, the State also said.

On April 9th, 2009, Roy Collins went about an ordinary day’s work, adding that one of the striking things about the case was that Mr Collins was a hard-working man who had no enemies or any cause to fear he would be shot dead as he was.

Five years ago, Dillon (29), of no fixed abode but originally from the southside of Limerick city, pleaded guilty to the murder. All three are serving life sentences for the murder.

The murder was linked to a trial in May 2005 when Wayne Dundon was found guilty of threatening to kill the stepson of publican Steve Collins, who is Roy Collins’ father. Dundon received a 10-year sentenced for making a threat to shoot Ryan Lee in Brannigan’s pub in Limerick city.