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Public Law, July 2012.


The decision of Hogan J in Kinsella v. Governor of Mountjoy Prison [2011] IEHC 235 (hereinafter Kinsella) is an important development in the protection of prisoners’ constitutional rights in Ireland. The decision, which found that a prisoner’s right to have his person protected had been breached by his detention in a padded cell with a cardboard box for use as a toilet in conditions amounting to a form of sensory deprivation, may represent a new direction for prison law jurisprudence. The judgment is also of significance for its analysis of the circumstances in which conditions of detention can give rise to an order for release under Article 40.4 of the Irish Constitution, which allows for the immediate release of a person found to be detained otherwise in accordance with law.

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