Concerns over Prison Surveillance Report – Unauthorised Surveillance of Lawyer-Client in Irish Jails
KRW LAW LLP is instructed by a number of clients (both sentenced and on remand) detained in prisons in The Republic of Ireland.
The Inspector for Prisons for Ireland, Patricia Gilheaney, has investigated allegations that conversations between prisoners and solicitors had been recorded.
Her Report has been sent to the Attorney General.
The Minister of Justice, Charlie Flanagan, has expressed concern.
The Report exposes possible breaches of client-lawyer privilege.
The relationship between lawyer and client is a cornerstone is the system for the administration of justice.
To undermine that foundation could lead to a dangerous loss of confidence in the ability of lawyers and their client to consult in confidence.
Prisoners in Ireland may need to consider legal action to ensure their right to consult in private. Any legal conversation that has been covertly recorded in breach of surveillance regulations could lead to legal action by members of the legal profession.
The abuse of surveillance regulations in the North, particularly in relation to high profile criminal cases, has always been of concern to clients and lawyers.
As Kevin Winters said today:
“This Report points to systemic erosion of an inalienable right to consult privately with a client especially on serious criminal cases. If there is traction in the allegations it could lead to various multifarious legal action not just by lawyers but by prisoners themselves. All right-minded people engaged in the oversight and administration of the criminal justice system will be outraged at this incursion. All efforts need to be taken to both expose it and make sure there is no repetition of the practice.”
KRW is writing to the Minister of Justice to express our concerns.