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Roundup: Reactions to further delays in report regarding the killing of Gary Douch

6th June 2013

On August 1st 2006, 21 year old Gary Douch was unlawfully killed in Mountjoy Prison in a holding cell he shared with six others, one of whom was mentally ill. A commission of investigation was established in May 2007, headed by Gráinne McMorrow SC, with its report expected by the end of that year. Seven years later Gary’s family are still awaiting answers to the circumstances surrounding his death.

There have been a number of factors leading to delays in the report’s publication including delays by the state in furnishing McMorrow with documents and information. The final draft of the report was due to be presented to Minister for Justice Mr Alan Shatter TD last April, but new evidence has necessitated a reopening of the investigation into the 21-year-old Dublin man's violent death.

Gary Douch was placed in a holding cell originally built for holding prisoners during their registration at the prison. Due to severe overcrowding in Mountjoy prison, the cell was being used as overnight accommodation. Douch’s cellmate, Stephen Egan, suffered from a schizo-affective disorder and had recently been transferred from the Central Mental Hospital to Mountjoy. Failures by the State to vindicate the rights of prisoners resulted in Gary Douch being beaten, kicked and strangled to death in an unprovoked attack. Egan was later convicted of manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Among the critical issues, IPRT believes the State is failing in its obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights in failing to deliver a prompt and effective report into Mr. Douch’s death.

The report into Gary Douch’s death is of crucial importance to issues surrounding the accommodation and treatment of mentally ill prisoners within the general prison population. The fact that the publication of this report has been delayed for 7 years with little to no public outcry suggests a deep public and political apathy towards vulnerable young men in the prison system.

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