Man accused of murder of Gareth Hutch brings High Court challenge over prison transfer

By Ann O'Loughlin

A 32-year-old man who denies murdering Gareth Hutch has brought a High Court challenge over his transfer from Mountjoy Prison to Portlaoise Prison.

The action has been brought by Jonathan Keogh over the transfer to Portlaoise Prison that occurred on March 9 last.

Mr Keogh is currently on remand and is due to go on trial before the Special Criminal Court in May.

He claims that he has not been given any reason for his transfer, the High Court heard today.

The late Gareth Hutch

He claims the transfer has caused him difficulties including that he has received no visits since his move from Mountjoy and in relation to seeing his legal team in advance of his trial.

On March 22nd he was informed by the prison authorities he was being removed from structured activity within Portlaoise Prison and was not allowed to associate with other prisoners.

No reason, other than the decision was taken by the Governor to ensure the good order and security in the prison, was given to Mr Keogh.

As well as seeking details about the reasons for his transfer Mr Keogh has also sought the basis why he has been removed from structured activities.

He says he had not received any response to his questions.

He claims the decisions are in breach of fair procedures and in breach of his rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

In his action, Mr Keogh, with an address at Sean McDermott Street in Dublin seeks orders quashing the decisions to transfer him and remove him from structured activities in the prison.

He also seeks orders compelling the Governor to give reasons for the decisions.

He further seeks declarations the prison regime he is subject to breaches his rights to fair procedures.

In a sworn statement in support of his application, Mr Keogh said he was not aware of any concerns for his safety at Mountjoy prison.

Following his transfer, he engaged in a dirty protest for 24 hours before abandoning it in favour of a hunger strike which he maintained for six days.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan. The case will come back before the court next week.

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