Judge hits out at new prison authority system

editorial image

A local judge has hit out at a new system that gives prison authorities the discretion to release prisoners.

The system allows prison authorities to release someone if they have previously served more time on an earlier charge than they were sentenced to.

Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as the case of Adam McDaid was mentioned at Derry Magistrate’s Court.

The 24-years-old, of Anderson Park, Limavady, is charged with assault, possessing an offensive weapon and disorderly behaviour on April 23, last year.

The court was told that there was some confusion as to where McDaid actually is, after he was recently jailed.

Defence solicitor Keith Kyle said that due to the new system it is thought that McDaid might have been released after one day.

Judge McElholm said: “We now have prison governors releasing people after a day or two even though the courts decided to give him a four month sentence.”

The judge went on to say that he could envisage a situation where the Westminster Government would simply ‘close us down.’

Jugde McElholm said: “There seems little point in my colleagues and myself deliberating whether to give someone a custodial sentence then deciding on the length of that sentence if some prison official can decide that four months means a day.”

The case was adjourned to see if it can be confirmed if McDaid is in custody or not.