Brendan McFarlane Wins Damages

The Irish Government has been ordered to pay damages to a Maze Prison escapee, Brendan Bik McFarlane. The decision was made as a result of the European Court of Human Rights ruling. The prisoner escaped from Maze prison in 1983 but was later caught. In 1998 McFarlane was released from the prison but was arrested just days after his release, and later charged in connection with the kidnapping of a supermarket executive, Don Tidley. During 2008, McFarlane was acquitted of any charges related to the case. The courts established that the proceedings put against the individual had been unreasonably long. It was stated that the Irish Government violated the individuals rights to have a fair trial within a reasonable time. The Government has now been ordered to pay McFarlane 5,400 Euros in damages within three months and 10,000 Euros in legal costs must also be paid. The decision was made after it was reported that McFarlane had to report to Dublins non-jury Special Criminal Court forty times over a ten year period, this was a 320km round trip from his home in Belfast. It was also established by the courts that despite they felt McFarlane had contributed to the length of the case; the actual waiting time for the case was still not justified. McFarlane was not alone in his escape from the Maze prison, in total 38 IRA prisoners escaped, although McFarlane was caught in Amsterdam and extradited back to Northern Ireland. He was caught by gardai in 1998 and charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and also the kidnap of Mr Tidney. The trial collapsed after items which were being used for evidence were lost, these were stated to hold McFarlanes finger prints.