Dissident secures her visits with partner

editorial image

A convicted dissident republican has taken legal action to secure jailhouse visits to her fiance on remand for allegedly trying to murder a Roman Catholic policeman.

Sharon Rafferty, 40, launched emergency proceedings after arrangements for her to see partner David Jordan at HMP Maghaberry over Christmas were cancelled.

Her scheduled visits are now to be reinstated in a resolution reached after the case came before the High Court in Belfast.

Rafferty, formerly of Cabhan Aluinn, Pomeroy, is serving four years behind bars for her part in a dissident republican training camp in Tyrone.

She admitted having a rifle and ammunition and attending a place used for terrorist training. She also pleaded guilty to a charge of helping to prepare an improvised firing range at the camp discovered in 2012. As part of her Christmas parole from Hydebank she had arranged four visits to her 44-year-old partner. Jordan, from Cavanalinn in Pomeroy, Tyrone, is on remand in Maghaberry charged with attempting to murder a police officer in a bomb attack in Castlederg in May 2008.

According to Rafferty’s legal team the prisons agreed to the visits. But it was claimed that the governor of Maghaberry intervened and cancelled three of the trips without giving reason.

In a judicial review challenge it was contended that the move breached Rafferty’s legitimate expectations and entitlements to family and private life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mrs Justice Keegan was told extensive phone calls had been made to try and resolve the issues.

It was then confirmed that the originally scheduled visits will take place, with an extra half-hour to compensate for one missed on Monday, December 28.

According to Rafferty’s solicitor, Darragh Mackin, legal costs were awarded against the Prison Service.

Outside court, he insisted the decision to cancel her scheduled Christmas visits was entirely unfounded.

Mr Mackin added: “Thankfully this matter has now been resolved accordingly, and our client will avail of her scheduled visits without further interference.”