“On Thursday evening our client, Nathan Hastings, a Republican prisoner from Derry was convicted and sentenced in his absence by the Governor of Maghaberry Prison to seven days cellular confinement for an alleged offence which is said to have occurred in the aftermath of an unprovoked attack by prison officers on fellow prisoner Darren Poleon on 10 August last.

“It is alleged that Mr Hastings refused a direct order to lock up in his cell. The Governor, in conducting the adjudication, saw fit to depart from the Prison Service’s own written manual on the conduct of adjudications in a number of material respects and proceeded to convict Mr Hastings without considering all of the available evidence, and without permitting him to obtain legal advice or affording him an opportunity to contest the evidence against him or call witnesses in his own defence.

“The Governor received extensive written representations from our office on Mr Hastings’ behalf yesterday and refused to comply with a deadline of 3pm to return our client to his cell in Roe House. His actions represent the manifestation of an intention by prison authorities to secure a conviction against a Republican prisoner at any cost, irrespective of the weaknesses in their case, and with casual indifference to its own written guidelines or indeed due process.

“As proceedings were lodged in Court late yesterday afternoon and the High Court requested to convene to consider an emergency application for leave to apply for judicial review on Friday evening, those representing the Prison Service confirmed that the Prison Service were reviewing their own decision next Tuesday and promptly returned Mr Hastings to the Republican wing in Roe House in the interim.”