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Transfer challenge ‘Scissor Sister’ Charlotte Mulhall denies ‘inappropriate relationship’ with female prison officer, court told

The mother of one is challenging a decision to move her from Mountjoy Prison's Dóchas Centre in Dublin to Limerick Prison after she was allegedly found in “a very compromising position” with a female prison officer in December 2018.

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Charlotte Mulhall. Photo: PA

Charlotte Mulhall. Photo: PA

Charlotte Mulhall. Photo: PA

Murderer Charlotte Mulhall, one of the so-called ‘Scissor Sisters’, was not given an opportunity to respond to allegations of “inappropriate relationships” behind bars before she was transferred to another prison, the High Court has heard.

The mother of one is challenging a decision to move her from Mountjoy Prison's Dóchas Centre in Dublin to Limerick Prison after she was allegedly found in “a very compromising position” with a female prison officer in December 2018.

As a result of the transfer, she alleges she has been unable to receive physical visits from her son, mother and sister, which has left her “lonely and sad”.

In a letter to the governor of Limerick Prison, Mulhall (37) also said she missed her dog Heather, who was part of a canine programme at the Dóchas Centre.

Her counsel, Conor Power SC, told Mr Justice Anthony Barr his client disputed allegations of inappropriate relationships or liaisons, had not been given an opportunity to challenge them before her transfer, and was not afforded fair procedures.

The comments came as Mulhall’s legal team sought leave to bring a judicial review of the decision to transfer her.

In proceedings against the Irish Prison Service and the State, she is seeking damages and orders that the transfer be quashed and that she be returned to the Dóchas Centre to facilitate visits from her son.

Mulhall claimed in an affidavit the transfer had “caused untold stress and upset to me, my son and my family”.

She is serving a life sentence for the gruesome murder of her mother Kathleen's boyfriend Farah Swaleh Noor in Ballybough, Dublin, in 2005.

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Farah Noor was murdered by Linda and Charlotte Mulhall

Farah Noor was murdered by Linda and Charlotte Mulhall

Farah Noor was murdered by Linda and Charlotte Mulhall

Mr Noor’s body was dismembered and some of his remains were discovered in the Royal Canal. His head was never found.

Mulhall’s sister Linda (45) was sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter and has since been released.

Opening the application, Mr Power, appearing with Cian Kelly BL and instructed by Tracy Horan and Co Solicitors, accepted the Prison Service has discretion to move inmates and that the courts cannot micromanage prisons.

But he said the bedrock of his case was that fair procedures must be observed if prisoners are being transferred.

Mr Power said certain matters were not considered by the Prison Service, including his client’s family connections, which are in Dublin.

He said this was a breach of her rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly in respect of the lack of physical visits with her son, which she hasn’t had since July 2019.

Mr Power also said prison authorities failed to consider Mulhall was on enhanced prisoner status at the time.

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Linda and Charlotte Mulhall became known as the ‘Scissor Sisters’ after the killing of Farah Noor

Linda and Charlotte Mulhall became known as the ‘Scissor Sisters’ after the killing of Farah Noor

Linda and Charlotte Mulhall became known as the ‘Scissor Sisters’ after the killing of Farah Noor

He also said no reasons were given to her when she was transferred and reasons provided since then were “to a degree contradictory”.

The court heard the application was being opposed on the basis that it was “out of time” and that the Prison Service has “significant discretion as regards transfers”.

It is also claimed by the Prison Service that Mulhall told the Parole Board she was “happy” in Limerick Prison and therefore there was no need for the proceedings.

An internal Prison Service email released to Mulhall under the Freedom of Information Act set out an allegation she had been “found in a very compromising position with an officer” in an office in the Laurel House section of the Dóchas Centre on December 22, 2018.

“I think the relationship between these two women has been focus of media attention previously,” the email read.

It went on to say: “This prisoner has been involved in a number of high-profile ‘liaisons’ while in Dóchas, all of which have received significant media coverage, including adverse comment.

“She should transfer to Limerick females by direction as soon as possible, preferably immediately, until further notice.”

Mulhall disputed what was alleged in the email, saying she had been “performing a beauty treatment” while “sitting on” the prison officer.

She said that had she been given the opportunity to address the situation, she would have told the governor exactly what happened, and the transfer would have been avoided.

In her affidavit, she said her solicitor was told in June 2020 the transfer was made “in order to maintain good order and safe custody in the Dóchas Centre”.

But she claimed the Prison Service had put forward differing grounds for the transfer to different parties.

This included correspondence with another Government agency in October 2019 which said she had been transferred to Limerick for “her own safety and wellbeing”.


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