State (Richardson) v Governor of Mountjoy Prison

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
Judgment Date01 January 1980
Date01 January 1980
(H.C.)
State (Richardson)
and
Governor of Mountjoy Prison

Condition of confinement - Subsisting rights of convicted prisoner - Complaint by prisoner that conditions of confinement conflict with health and privacy rights - Whether motive for complaint relevant - Whether State in breach of duties under Constitution and Prison Rules - Appropriate remedy - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Article 40.3 - Rules for the Government of Prisons, 1947 (S.R. O. No.320), Rules 34, 46, 108, 172. Habeas corpus -Inquiry under Article 40.4 - Whether habeas corpus or Article 40.4 inquiry appropriate form of relief - Subsisting rights of convicted prisoner - Right of access to courts - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Articles 40.3, 40.4.

The prosecutrix was a convicted prisoner who was detained in Mountjoy Prison. She applied for an inquiry by the High Court under Article 40.4 of the Constitution into the conditions relating to toilet facilities in the women's section of the prison on the grounds that they failed to have proper regard to her right to health, privacy and human dignity. Evidence was given that each morning the women, whose number averaged 16, in a procedure known as slopping out emptied out the chamber pots given to them the previous night in the one toilet available for this. The women should have used a cold water tap over the sink of the toilet to rinse the chamber pot, clean it with steel wool and then empty the water into the toilet bowl, but the prosecutrix claimed that due to pressure of time to finish slopping out before breakfast some women emptied chamber pots into the sink in which they were to wash themselves and that she had seen the remains of human waste in the sink. She had made a verbal, though not a written complaint to the prison officers and members of the Visiting Committee regarding these conditions. She also complained that the toilet doors consisted of opaque glass and could not be locked from the inside. In evidence, the prison's medical officer stated he would be concerned if 15 prisoners had to go through the slopping out process in 30 minutes and were human waste to be poured into the sink. He thought hot water should be made available to the prisoners and the slopping out area should be separate from where the prisoners washed. The governor stated that as a result of the prosecutrix's application he took a decision to have the condition of the women's toilet facilities improved. Held, by Barrington J: (1) although the...

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39 cases
  • Ryan v Governor of Midlands Prison
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 22 September 2014
    ...was the interpretation of the Statute. 22The Court considers that this is not a case such as Richardson v Governor of Mountjoy Prison [1980] ILRM 82 where there was an issue of a prisoner suffering ill treatment. See also Cahill v Governor of Military Barracks 1980 ILRM 191. 23The tradition......
  • Holland v Governor of Portlaoise Prison
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 11 June 2004
    ...Governor of Mountjoy Prison (Unreported, High Court, McMahon J., 6th March, 1978);The State (Richardson) v. Governor of Mountjoy Prison[1980] I.L.R.M. 82; Murray v. Ireland[1985] I.R. 532 andKearney v. Minister for Justice[1986] I.R. 116applied. Breathnach v. Ireland[2001] 3 I.R. 230disting......
  • Brennan v Governor of Portlaoise Prison
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 January 1999
    ...RULES FOR THE GOVT OF PRISONS 1983 SI 135/1983 AG, PEOPLE V MCGOWAN UNREP SUPREME 14.10.1968 RICHARDSON, STATE V GOV OF MOUNTJOY PRISON 1980 ILRM 82 C, STATE V FRAWLEY 1976 IR 365 GREENE, STATE V GOV OF PORTLAOISE PRISON UNREP HAMILTON 20.5.1977 1977/4/730 CAHILL V GOV OF MILITARY DETENTI......
  • Daniel Mcdonnell v Governor of Wheatfield Prison
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 20 March 2015
    ...given in an appropriate case. MacMenamin J in Mulligan interpreted the decision of The State (Richardson) v. Governor of Mountjoy Prison [1980] ILRM 82 as recognising that in an appropriate case a court:-" 81 'has jurisdiction to actually direct improvements in prison conditions where warr......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Bunreacht Behind Bars: The Irish Prison System in its Constitutional Context
    • Ireland
    • Trinity College Law Review Nbr. XXI-2018, January 2018
    • 1 January 2018
    ...for the prisoner to show that there has been a legal error or impropriety, or even that jurisdiction has been inadvertently exceeded.’ 32 [1980] ILRM 82. 33 [1980] ILRM 82, 84. 34 [1980] ILRM 82, 86. 96 Trinity College Law Review [Vol 21] constitutional rights which are clearly not abrogate......
  • Whither Constitutional Environmental (Rights) Protection In Ireland After ?Climate Case Ireland'?
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal Nbr. 2-21, July 2021
    • 1 July 2021
    ...2021: The Physical Science Basis (2021) accessed 09 August 2021. 103 See also, The State (Richardson) v Governor of Mountjoy Prison [1980] ILRM 82, and Mulligan v Governor of Portlaoise Prison [2010] IEHC 269. 104 [1976] IR 365 (HC). [2021] Irish Judicial Studies Journal Vol 5(2) 40 IRISH J......

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