Creighton -v- Ireland & Ors, [2009] IEHC 257 (2009)

Docket Number:2003 13989 P
Party Name:Creighton, Ireland & Ors
Judge:White J.
 
FREE EXCERPT

THE HIGH COURT2003 13989 P

BETWEEN

PETER CREIGHTONPLAINTIFFAND

IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,

THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM AND THE GOVERNOR OF WHEATFIELD PRISONDEFENDANTSJUDGMENT of Mr. Justice White delivered on the 25th day of May 2009

The plaintiff seeks damages in negligence in respect of injuries which he sustained on the 19th day of January 2003, whilst detained as a prisoner in Wheatfield Prison.

On that day, the plaintiff, together with a number of fellow prisoners, had been assembled in the Medical Centre within the prison, a location referred to by prisoners and warders alike as "The Cage", for the purposes of receiving medication in the form of methadone. Whilst awaiting his medication, the plaintiff alleges that suddenly, and without provocation, he was slashed about the face by a fellow prisoner, and then knocked to the floor, where he received further slashes to his back and abdomen before being rescued from further injury by prison officers. He cannot say how long the assault lasted, other than that it was less than a minute. At the time he was squatting on a bench and attacked from the side or behind. The Medical Centre is located on a main corridor of the Prison. It consists of five interconnected units. The units at either end are accessed by gates on the corridor. The three central units are interconnected by separating gates. Separating gates at either end give access to the end units. Prisoners are admitted at one end, the gate to the corridor is locked behind them, and they make their way through the central units to the far end unit, where Methadone is dispensed. The separating gate to the dispensary unit is locked, and prisoners are admitted thereto individually. This is the sole unit in which prison officers are present. Two officers are present, one to admit prisoners to the unit and to return prisoners to the corridor, and the other to verify the prisoner's entitlement to medication.

The lower half of the central units, as they face onto the corridor, are solid, and the upper half are barred, thereby permitting of prison staff having a limited view of the central units from the corridor.

There is a conflict on the evidence as regards the number of prisoners present in the Medical Centre, the length of time the plaintiff was in the Centre on the morning in question, and as to whether or not the separating gates between the central units were open or locked. However, I do not consider that I...

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