Written Answers. - Release of Prisoner.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

169 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice if she will make a statement on the release of a person (details supplied) from Mountjoy Prison. [2100/94]

The case referred to by the Deputy involved the release on bail of a prisoner in error through mistaken identity on 2 August 1994.

There are approximately 1,000 movements of prisoners in and out of Mountjoy every week. These movements include committals from the courts, transfers to and from other institutions, discharges on temporary release, bail and expiry of sentence.

In these circumstances the possibility of error is always present, though I do not suggest that it excuses an error of this kind. I have had this particular incident fully investigated and while again not suggesting that it provides an excuse for what happened, it is clear that there was a high degree of collusion between certain offenders in securing the release of the wrong individual. I am satisfied that appropriate precautions have since been put in place in order to avoid a recurrence.