Limerick Prison officers were assaulted by inmate

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A young man who assaulted two prison officers at Limerick Prison was this week sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment

A young man who assaulted two prison officers at Limerick Prison was this week sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment

A YOUNG man who assaulted two prison officers at Limerick Prison was this week sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment.

Frank Ryan, aged 22, of No Fixed Abode, pleaded guilty to a number of charges relating to an incident at the prison on January 3, last.

Limerick District Court was told the defendant, who has a long history of drug abuse, attacked one prison officer near the door of his cell and that the second guard was injured when he tried to assist his colleague.

Sergeant John Moloney said one of the prison officers sustained three fractured ribs and well as injuries to his eye socket and nose.

The second, he said, sustained bruising to his head and back.

Both men, he added, had declined to make Victim Impact Statements.

Solicitor John Herbert said his client, who has 25 previous convictions, had  been returning to his cell when other prisoners began chanting to suggest he was in possession of illicit drugs.

He said Mr Ryan reacted badly when one of the prison officers approached him and indicated he was to be searched for contraband.

Mr Herbert said his client admits hitting the first prison officer near the door of his cell but that he does not know how the second officer was injured given the confined space of his cell.

Judge Mary Larkin was told  the defendant, who is originally from Tipperary Town, did not have any drugs in his possession and that no disciplinary action was taken by the prison authorities in relation to any contraband.

“He reacted very badly, he didn’t want to be searched,” said Mr Herbert.

The solicitor told the court Mr Ryan believed he would be stripped naked and placed in a ‘padded cell’ for days claiming that is a regular practice at Limerick Prison.

When Judge Larkin described the allegations as “extraordinary” Mr Herbert stood over them insisting they were true: “It’s a fact not an allegation. That’s what he was afraid of,” he said.

Mr Herbert added his client is now on remand in Cork Prison awaiting trial before the circuit court for serious drugs offences in County Tipperary.

Imposing sentence, Judge Larkin commented the reaction of the defendant to potentially being searched was extraordinary and over the top.

Noting the contents of medical reports which were submitted to the court, she said it was clear both prison officers had been subjected to an assault.

She added that the actions of the defendant had necessitated both attending the accident and emergency department at University Hospital Limerick for examination following the incident.

She imposed consecutive prison sentences totalling nine months.