Prisoner sues State alleging he was failed as child in care

Man has claimed he was physically and sexually abused while in foster care

The High Court directed that the prisoner give evidence by video link from prison after the State claimed his presence in court may pose a threat to others.

The High Court directed that the prisoner give evidence by video link from prison after the State claimed his presence in court may pose a threat to others.

 

A prisoner who claims he was failed by the State since being placed in foster care as a four-year-old child, during which time he was allegedly assaulted and sexually abused, has launched a High Court action.

The 30-year-old man, who is in solitary confinement for committing acts of violence, has claimed he was physically and sexually abused while in foster care and never treated properly for his ADHD condition.

Hugh O’Keeffe SC, for the man, told Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon he was first taken into care when he was four years old due to the neglect of his mother. It was their case there has been “abject failure of the State” in his case.

The judge directed the identity of the prisoner not be revealed. He will give evidence by video link from prison after the State claimed his presence in court may pose a threat to others and several prison officers would be required to be with him.

Ms Justice O’Hanlon told the man, who will watch the proceedings via video link, the court will listen carefully to his evidence and give it careful consideration.

He has sued the Ministers for Justice and Health, the Attorney General, the HSE and the Irish Prison Service for alleged negligence and breach of duty.

He claims, during ten years in foster care with a family, he was assaulted, battered, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused.

Constant state of fear

He further claims he was beaten with fists, assaulted with sticks and was in a constant state of fear. On one occasion he alleged, a rope was placed around his neck and he was tied up to a bed. When aged nine, he says he attempted to hang himself. He claims when he left foster care aged 14, he was not provided with a safe environment in which to live and was allegedly given drugs and raped.

Since he was aged 17, the man has spent most of his time in prison and and has been incarcerated at various prisons where it is claimed his various conditions were not diagnosed or treated as they should have been.

It is further claimed there was failure to implement any or any suitable or adequate code of ethics or rules of good practice for foster parents and failure to take any or any adequate steps by means of screening, enquiry or character assessment before appointing the boy’s foster family.

The State claims the case is statute barred and should be dismissed. It denies all the claims and further contends some or all of the injuries alleged were caused by the man’s own acts by behaving aggressively and violently and engaging in criminal activity.

Opening the case, Mr O’Keeffe said the man contended the State failed him in relation to his placement in foster care and also in failing to treat him.

“Who is to say how he would have turned out if given to a different foster family?” counsel asked.

The man has been in solitary confinement for committing terrible acts of violence and, while not saying he was destined for a perfect life, it was their case, had his ADHD been treated, “we would not be where we are today”.