Catholic inmate’s bid to get Her Majesty removed from name of Ulster’s prisons
HER Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s title could soon be a thing of the past as far as prisons in the North of Ireland are concerned, the Sunday World has learned.
For decades ‘Her Majesty’ has prefixed the name of all three state prisons here. But now a remand prisoner – currently being held in HMP Maghaberry – is claiming the name of the prison infringes his human rights as an Irish citizen. And he hopes to have ‘Her Majesty’ removed from the name of the prison as soon as possible. Jonathan Turley-from Belfast’s Short Strand district-is hoping to bring a judicial review before the courts as soon as possible. Speaking to the Sunday World during a pre-arranged visit this week, 38-year-old Turley said: “People tell me I’m crazy to try to change the system, as it has remained the same for many years.
“But I believe I have a good case and I intend to raise the matter in court. Unless people like me try and change things, then nothing will ever change here,” he said. Turley revealed he has already written to the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland Eamon Martin asking for his help. And he’s also contacted Secretary of State Julian Smith in regard to the same. Turley said: “Archbishop Martin recently spoke out about the comparatively low number of Catholics joining the Police Service of NI.
“But a quick glance at the North of Ireland Prison Service tells you things are much worse in it. In fact I feel everything about the Prison Service in the North of Ireland would need looked at and reviewed.” Turley also insisted the title of the police was changed from the (RUC) Royal Ulster Constabulary to the (PSNI) Police Service of Northern Ireland in order to make Catholics feel more at ease about joining. And he pointed out Crown insignia was removed from courtrooms across the North of Ireland for similar reasons.
He said: “There are three dimensions to the justice system here-the police, the courts and judiciary, and the prisons. “The first two were dismantled to accommodate the Catholic community, so why not the prison service as well? How can someone like me get a fair deal in a place like this?” He added: “My appearance before the courts in relation to this is only the first step in a long road, but I’m determined to see it through.” Turley was arrested in Thailand last year on foot of a International Arrest Warrant.
At the time he was still wanted in the North of Ireland on a number of outstanding charges. But cops in Belfast discovered Turley was making a name for himself on the Muay Thai boxing circuit. And he was scooped by police shortly after he returned to his Bangkok apartment. And he appeared in court flanked by Thai police officers involved in his arrest.
As he was being held in a Thai prison prior to being sent back to the UK, Turley contacted the Sunday World to say he believed he had been shopped by an Irishman operating as an MI6 agent in Thailand. He is currently on remand in HMP Maghaberry, near Lisburn, awaiting trial on a string of outstanding charges, some dating back many years.
With many thanks to: The Sunday World and Hugh Jordan for the original EXCLUSIVE story hJordan.email@example.com