Sunday Life

IRA man loses sniffer dog fight

By Ciaran Mcguigan
18 July 2004

AN IRA man jailed on gun charges has failed in a legal fight against a decision to place him in solitary confinement because of drug smuggling fears.

Martin Corden was isolated after a sniffer dog picked him out when he returned to jail from home leave.

Prison authorities were concerned that Corden may have swallowed drugs to conceal them when returning to jail.

Corden - now released, after serving his sentence for storing guns and ammo in his Lurgan home - applied for leave for a Judicial Review of the decision by the governor of Magilligan Prison to isolate him in April 2002.

He claimed the decision to put him in isolation without a trial was a breach of his human rights.

He also claims that the governor did not take his strong anti-drugs views into consideration, when making his decision.

Corden's application also challenged the reliability of the sniffer dogs.

And in the High Court judgment, delivered this month, it emerged that two prison sniffer dogs had been "sacked" in the past two years for being unreliable.

A third sniffer dog had failed its training.

However, Mr Justice Weatherup dismissed each of Corden's grounds for the Judicial Review when throwing his application out of court.

Corden was jailed for 10 years in December 1998 after being convicted of possessing a cache of weapons with intent to endanger lives.

When cops raided his Lurgan home, earlier the same year, they recovered two rifles, a shotgun, two handguns, a machine gun and magazines, as well as a quantity of ammunition.

He was originally locked up in the Maze, and was one of the last prisoners to be transferred from the Co Antrim jail when it was closed down.

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