PRISON bosses feared that granting Wayne Dundon contact visits with his family might have led to drugs or other prohibited articles being smuggled into jail.
The gangster was granted one such visit from his wife and children after he took the authorities to court, claiming his human rights were being breached in prison.
But court documents have revealed that the prison had concerns that visits could ‘facilitate the entry… of controlled drugs or other prohibited articles or substances’.
Dundon, the head of Limerick’s McCarthy-Dundon gang, is serving a six-year sentence for making threats to kill three members of a Limerick family.
In his High Court suit, he wants to be moved to a more ‘mainstream’ prison and allowed to spend more time with his family. He says he has been forced into a ‘restrictive regime’ since he was sent down in April.
Dundon is suing the governor of Cloverhill Prison, where he is serving his time, Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the State in the hope of improving his situation.
This weekend, his lawyers are in negotiations with the prison authorities in a bid to settle the case before it comes before a judge again on Monday.
Court papers filed by Dundon’s legal team, state that the authorities ‘have never provided any reasonable, legitimate explanation as to why they are not satisfied that contact visits between the applicant [Dundon] and his wife and children would not facilitate the entry into the prison of controlled drugs or other prohibited articles or substances’. It goes on to point out that Dundon’s wife, Ann Casey, ‘has never been charged with or convicted of any criminal offence’ and that his three children ‘are extremely young, being a nine-year-old daughter, a seven-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son’.
In defence of Dundon, the lawyers point out that he personally ‘has never smuggled controlled drugs or other prohibited articles or substances into a prison’.
The lawyers – Belfast-based Madden & Finucane Solicitors – argue that the authorities have breached current prison rules by refusing contact visits and failing to adequately explain that refusal. Dundon had been restricted to 15-minute ‘screened’ visits but now he’s demanding ‘normal contact visits’ with his family.
His wife lives in England and must make special trips to Dublin to see him, making the visits ‘especially distressing for all concerned’, he says.
SC Pádraig Dwyer, for Dundon, told the High Court this week: ‘Since these proceedings commenced, he has been allowed one contact visit with his family. Before the proceedings, he was not allowed.’ Mr Dwyer said screened visits were having a ‘very negative impact on his family and relationships with his children.’ The court was also told that the governor of Cloverhill decided to segregate the prisoner ‘based on confidential information in relation to Mr Dundon’.
Mr Dwyer contended that the governor is ‘acting on information that is incorrect’.
Dundon began his lawsuit in July. He initially raised his concerns with the governor of Cloverhill, before he ‘sought legal advice and came to the court’.
A spokesman for the Prison Service said they never comment on individual prisoners or security issues.