Prisoner’s case after blade attack in jail dismissed

A PRISONER who was slashed across the throat by another prisoner with a blade had his case for negligence against the Department of Justice dismissed yesterday.

Mark Corcoran, 29, with an address of Comeragh Park, The Glen, Cork, was attacked at Cork Prison on April 12, 2005.

Mr Corcoran testified at Cork Circuit Court that the other prisoner called him a rat and slashed him from one side of the throat to the other with a blade.

The plaintiff said that he never ratted on anyone in his life but was now left scarred for life and his case was against the authorities for the fact that prisoners were given blades to shave themselves and that not all blades were returned.

Barrister Kieran Hughes, said, “I cannot say whether the blade (used in the assault) was issued by the prison authorities.”

Judge Patrick J Moran summarised the plaintiff’s argument: “You say the negligence is that they give out blades to men and they do not get them all back.”

Mr Hughes said: “If they give out blades and do not collect them it (an assault with a blade) is foreseeable. The injury in this case is terrible, there is extensive scarring.”

James Duggan, defence barrister, referred to a similar prison assault case where the presiding judge ruled that prison authorities could not give an absolute guarantee of prisoner safety.

“We (the prison authorities) give blades to prisoners. They are entitled to blades to shave. We make every effort to get them back. We do not expect them to be hidden or kept. We are not accepting that this blade (used in the assault) was one of those blades,” he said.

Judge Moran acceded to a defence application to dismiss the case and said, “I have no doubt the prison authorities are concerned about the safety of the prisoners and they take the best steps they can in the interests of peace in the establishment… Are they supposed to go through (the prison) with a fine tooth comb and make sure every blade is returned? I do not think so. They were doing their best.”


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