Staff member linked to jail criminal probe

Maghaberry Prison.
Maghaberry Prison.

A prison officer was allegedly involved in a conspiracy to smuggle illicit items into Maghaberry Prison, the High Court heard yesterday.

The staff member is suspended as part of an ongoing police investigation into “serious criminal activity inside and outside” the prison.

Details emerged as a man serving a 15-year-sentence for attempted murder launched a legal challenge to having his regime status changed due to the probe.

Hugh McCormick is seeking to judicially review the Prison Service after his security classification was increased based on intelligence about his alleged role in trafficking.

His lawyers claims it was an unlawful move against a man who hasn’t been arrested.

The 51-year-old, formerly of Rosevale Street in Belfast, was found guilty with his brother James McCormick, 47, of attacking Joseph Henry in July 2011.

Hugh McCormick’s regime status within the jail changed after an investigation was launched in March this year.

His barrister, Conor Maguire, argued that McCormick has been unfairly treated and highlighted the suspension of a prison officer.

Following submissions, Mr Justice Colton reserved judgment on the application for leave to see a judicial review.