Man prone to 'extreme violence' brought to High Court by officers in full riot gear

Mr Langford was described as having a "propensity toward extreme violence"
Mr Langford was described as having a "propensity toward extreme violence"

A wanted man with a propensity for "extreme violence", who was brought to the High Court by five officers in full riot gear, must wait to hear whether he will be extradited to the UK where he is wanted for a number of offences.

Simeon Cosmo Langford (33), with an address at Brigstock Road, Bristol in the UK, is wanted in England to face charges on attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and theft. Mr Langford is also wanted for allegedly breaching the conditions of his release from a prison sentence for grievous bodily harm.

According to a European Arrest Warrant issued in August 2015, Mr Langford was released on license, otherwise known as parole, in the UK on May 6, 2015 and is alleged to have committed the offences for which he is sought on dates between June 2 and June 11, 2015.

The warrant alleges that he absconded and UK police believe he travelled to Ireland on June 13, 2015 using a passport in the name of Luke Gillespie.

He was arrested by gardai in Cork in August 2015 and brought before the High Court.

Opposing an application for his surrender to the UK today on grounds that he would be subject to inhumane and degrading treatment on his return, his barrister, Ronan Munro BL, said his client was in a "special category".

Mr Langford was brought into court accompanied by five officers in full riot gear. He was handcuffed to one officer while another officer stood next to him holding a riot shield.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said it was exceptional for someone to be in handcuffs in court and she asked the State to make a formal application for the procedure which was made – and acceded to - "based on the profile of Mr Langford". The hearing resumed.

Mr Munro said he accepted that suboptimal prison conditions did not preclude surrender "but he (Mr Langford) was in a special category".

He said his client had a fraught relationship with prison authorities and "you can see that in action here today," Mr Munro said referring to the riot gear. It was a "flavour of the type of approach that was taken in the UK," he said.

Mr Langford has had "appalling experiences" in UK prisons which, Mr Munro said, were borne out by Inspector of Prison reports submitted to the court.

He said Mr Langford would be returning to Britain as "a marked man" with an "X on his back".

People like him, who were in conflict with the system and "marked as non-compliant", can fall outside of the system and there was evidence to show that he would receive inhumane and degrading treatment in his special circumstances, Mr Munro submitted.

Counsel for the Minister for Justice and Equality, Vincent Heneghan BL, said Mr Langford was making assertions about ills he had suffered in British prisons but they were subjective in nature and "mere allegations".

Mr Heneghan said the Inspector of Prison reports showed how British authorities randomly inspect prisons, see their ills and try to right them.

He said the prison authorities in Britain actively sought out problems in the system so problems could be fixed.

There were no adverse reports on the British prison system from Amnesty International or other such bodies and no reports to say British prisons were in breach of Article 3, Mr Heneghan said.

Ms Justice Donnelly said she hoped to be in a position to deliver judgment on the State's application to surrender Mr Langford on Tuesday next.

In documents read out to court, Mr Langford was described as having a "propensity toward extreme violence" and "had chronic feelings of persecution by authority figures".

He suffered from depression and low mood. In December 2010 he was seen repeatedly banging his head of a wall.

He had been subject to "extraordinary control and restraint measures" including restraint to the ground while his clothes were cut off.

In an affidavit, Mr Langford claimed he had not presented any management problems while in custody in the Midlands Prison.

He claimed there was a real risk of inter-prisoner violence in British prisons and that he'd been subject to at least 10 violent attacks "actively facilitated by prison guards" upon him.

He claimed some prisoners openly dealt drugs and ate fast food in prison facilitated, he believed, by certain guards.

He claimed his meals were interfered with - that bleach was poured in his food - and that he would eat around such substances as best he could.

In Bristol, he claimed to have been attacked with a "shiv" but he defended himself and when he reported the incident, his attacker was already talking to guards, which he found "strange".

There were sexual elements to many of the beatings by prison guards, he claimed, with the grabbing of testicles and invasive cavity searches.

Access to lawyers was also a concern. He was told once that he would be going to court for assaulting a prison guard but that the van had already gone. A few weeks later he was given a video link to court but it was for sentencing only because he had been found guilty, he claimed.

He said he found the regime in the Midlands Prison to be humane compared to prisons in Britain.

Ruaidhrí Giblin