A JUDGE has expressed concern after an inmate who was granted compassionate release to attend his aunt’s funeral failed to return to Limerick Prison.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly made his comments during the case of Anthony Earls, aged 24, of Saint Ita’s Street, Saint Mary’s Park.
Sgt Donal Cronin said Mr Earls, who is currently before the court for several matters, had been released for a number of hours last week in order to attend his aunt’s funeral.
He said the defendant failed to return to prison that evening and was unlawfully at large for three days.
He added that he was only apprehended by gardai following a “difficult arrest”.
Solicitor John Herbert said his client, who is a heroin addict, was aware he had “committed a breach of trust” and he added it was a “human failing on his part”.
He said Earls, who is on remand, was being detained in solitary confinement 23 hours a day prior to the incident.
Judge O’Kelly said the court had to treat the matter very seriously as the actions of the defendant would “make it difficult” for other individuals who may apply for compassionate release in future.
“He is endangering similar applications that other people may make. The State may not be willing (in future) to facilitate them if a culture develops,” he said.
The judge added that it was not simply a case of Earls returning late. “He did not surrender himself and I’m told it was a difficult arrest,” he said.
Noting that “no good reason” had been put forward as an excuse by Earls, the judge sentenced him to four months imprisonment.