The family of Shane Rogers have said this week that they are relieved that to receive a report that outlines how Shane died and they now hope that some good will come of what has been a horrorifc saga for all invovled.
Shane Rogers took his own life in a court holding cell in late 2011 after admitting that he had killed GAA star James Hughes, in a row over his former girlfriend.
The ‘Report of an Investigation by Judge Michael Reilly, Inspector of Prisons, into the circumstances surrounding the death of Shane Rogers at Cloverhill Courthouse on the 20 th December 2011’ goes into detail about the handled of Shane Rogers before in the day leading up to his suicide in a holding cell.
The Report identifies a number of deficiencies which includes the failure of various sections of the ‘prison system’ to communicate with each other, the failure to adhere to stated work practices, the absence of governance to ensure compliance with Standard Operating Procedures and inadequate record keeping.
The report states that: “This Report does not set out to scapegoat prison officers who, because of systemic failures and a lack of oversight by superiors, did not adhere to the highest standards.
The Report should be used to address such failures, to provide appropriate oversight and to act as a warning to public servants at all grades that they must be careful and scrupulous when attending to their public duties in order that the general public can have complete confidence in the system that operates in our prisons. It is clear that relevant information in the possession of the prison authorities in Cloverhill Prison regarding the vulnerability of Mr. Rogers was not shared with the
prison authorities tasked with escorting Mr. Rogers from Cloverhill Prison to Cloverhill Courthouse and detaining him there. It is also clear that those tasked with escorting Mr. Rogers to Cloverhill Courthouse and detaining him there did not seek any information from Cloverhill Prison which could have informed them as to the vulnerability or otherwise of Mr. Rogers.
Distressing details of the days leading up his death reveal that Rogers had threatened on numerous occasions that he would take his own life at the earliest opportunity.
In one phone call with his sister he told her “Don’t come home to see me wait for the funeral”.
Despite these warning signs it was information regarding his mental state was not properly to those who were caring for him at the prison and when he was transferred to a holding cell.
In a statement given to the Dundalk Democrat by Solicitor Martin Crilly on behalf of the family, it states: “The Rogers family are relieved to receive Judge Michael Reilly’s report as they did not know until receiving Judge Reilly’s report this afternoon, the exact circumstances of Shane’s death. “They are very upset to learn about the deficiencies that arose in Cloverhill Prison and Cloverhill Courthouse in relation to Shane’s death particularly that the Prison Services Escort Agency attached to Cloverhill Courthouse were not told that Shane was very vulnerable and suicidal.
“They are also very upset to learn that Shane was not checked while he was in the prison cell in Cloverhill Courthouse from 12.03 p.m. until 12.58 p.m., approximately 55 minutes, despite the requirement that prisoners be checked at least every 15 minutes. “They are relieved to learn than an Action Plan is now being put in place to deal with vulnerable prisoners and also to implement the other recommendations made by Judge Reilly in relation to the standard operating procedures relating to prisoners. “They would like to thank Judge Michael Reilly for the thorough investigation that he has carried out into Shane’s death and also to thank him for the courtesy that he has extended to the Rogers family. They would also like to thank the Minister for Justice, Mr. Alan Shatter, firstly for the prompt manner that he set up the independent investigation by Judge Reilly and also for the promptness by the Minister in publishing Judge Reilly’s report and his recommendations. “The Rogers family hope that some good will come out of the publication of Judge Reilly’s report and that it may help to avoid a tragedy to other vulnerable persons, which occurred in relation to Shane’s death.”