Republican prisoner has legal consultations reinstated

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A republican prisoner who launched High Court action over being allegedly denied access to his lawyer is set to have his legal consultations reinstated.

Emergency judicial review proceedings were put on hold on Thursday after Christy O’Kane’s solicitor was told visits to HMP Maghaberry are to resume.

With medical treatment also said to have been re-established, the case was adjourned to be monitored again later this month.

O’Kane, a 41-year-old from Londonderry, is on remand charged with IRA membership and taking part in mortar attacks between 1992-94.

He is being held in the dissident republican Roe House wing of Maghaberry prison where tensions have remained high since last week.

At one stage prison staff were withdrawn from the landings following an incident involving up to 40 inmates.

Republicans claim one prisoner’s arm was broken during a stand-off, while authorities at Maghaberry say their staff have been threatened and intimidated.

O’Kane’s legal challenge reached court amid allegations that he has been denied access to his solicitor for three days running.

But counsel for O’Kane sought an adjournment based on assurances received since the papers were lodged.

Mr Justice Treacy agreed to put the case on hold, rather than dismiss the challenge outright.