Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Mayo man mistakenly released from garda custody following a court hearing killed his mother less than a month later.

Celyn Eadon, aged 22, from Derrycrieve, Islandeady was sentenced to life in prison for murdering is mother at their home while under the influence of drugs. He should have been in garda custody at the time, according to the report of the Inspector of Prisons.

Eadon, who was 19 at the time of the murder, stabbed his 46-year old mother Nóirín Kelly 19 times on March 9, 2011.

A report into what happened during the court hearings in early 2011 was undertaken by Judge Michael Reilly earlier this year following a request from then-minister Alan Shatter.

Publishing the report yesterday, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said it found that “proper procedures had operated in Castlebar District Court”.

Justice Reilly also said he was satisfied with improved protocol that has been put in place for the handling of warrants in provincial district courts.

The report did not have the remit to look at the conduct of members of An Garda Síochána, a matter that was dealt with under the statutory disciplinary procedure. The Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is also still examining the practice, policy and procedure in relation to dealing with persons who are committed to custody on remand by a court.

On February 4, 2011 Eadon appeared in Harristown District Court on foot of a bench warrant for traffic offences. He was remanded in custody to Castlebar District Court on February 16, 2011 and on that date he was further remanded in custody with consent to bail on conditions to Achill District Court on March 10, 2011. He was also remanded on bail on a separate charge on his own bond of €50 to the same court. He signed a bail bond in respect of this charge sheet. He then left the court despite being remanded in custody. Eadon subsequently appeared at Swinford District Court on March 11, 2011 charged with the murder of his mother.

Mr Justice Reilly said the registrar of the District Court prepared remand warrants in accordance with the order of the judge. Then Garda commissioner Martin Callinan confirmed to Mr Justice Reilly the orders had been received by the Garda. Prior to the instigation of Mr Justice Reilly’s investigation, Mr Callinan appointed a chief superintendent to conduct a disciplinary investigation into the circumstances surrounding the matter. Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against a number of named gardaí.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said her department ensure “such a serious breakdown at operational level” does not happen again.

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