Jail death of Love/Hate actor ‘Dano’ may prompt action on drugs inside
CCTV on his landing out of order for a month
The prison death of a Love/Hate actor might trigger a tougher drugs crackdown on inmates following calls from the jails watchdog for regular unannounced cell searches.
It comes after a review said 22 wraps of heroin were found in the cell of the drug-dealing model and actor Daniel ‘Dano’ Doyle (31), who appeared in the RTÉ hit drama.
The Ballymun father of two was found in an unresponsive state in Mountjoy Prison just over two years ago. He subsequently died in hospital.
A report by the Inspector of Prisons into the death of Doyle, who was not named, also criticised delays in fixing broken CCTV cameras in Mountjoy, which it claimed compromised the security of prisoners.
It revealed the total amount of heroin found in the prisoner’s cell was 1.965 grams.
The inspector, Patricia Gilheaney, said Doyle, who was serving a 12-month sentence for drug-related offences, was found unresponsive in his cell at 8.05am on June 15, 2018.
‘Dano’, who was a protected prisoner because of his fear of fighting with other inmates, was provided with emergency medical attention before being brought by ambulance to the nearby Mater Hospital where he died 10 days later without regaining consciousness.
Ms Gilheaney was told cursory cell inspections were carried out daily but there was no record of a more detailed search of any cell on the prisoner’s wing in Mountjoy in the first half of 2018.
“Searching, both routine and unannounced, is a fundamental safety requirements in prisons,” said Ms Gilheany.
She said her investigation was unable to determine how the prisoner had come into the possession of drugs.
The report said no evidence was found to substantiate claims by Doyle’s family that he had been poisoned by drugs which may have been provided by a prison officer.
He had denied having a history of drug use on his committal to prison and did not get any medical treatment for drug-related issues. However Doyle had been prescribed a range of medicines including anti-inflammatories, vitamin supplements and anti- depressants.
The report said nothing was found to back up the family’s suggestion he was severely under the influence of drugs in the gym and prison yard on the evening before he was found in an unresponsive state.
However, Ms Gilheaney said it was “a very serious matter” that the CCTV system on the landing where the prisoner had been housed had not been working for a month.
She said CCTV failures compromised the security of protected prisoners on the wing.
Ms Gilheaney also said the failure of prison staff to notice that CCTV cameras were not working for 11 days was “difficult to understand”.
Asked if staff in the control room should have noticed the camera failures, the inspector was informed by an IPS official they did not know the answer as they did not work there.
“This is an inadequate response,” Ms Gilheaney said.
Doyle’s family also complained they had heard he had died via Facebook on the morning he had been brought to hospital from the prison.
Ms Gilheaney said she had been informed by Mountjoy Prison’s governor a number of prisoners may have put information out on social media as a result of the prevalence of illicit mobile phones in the jail. The Irish Prison Service was also criticised for a delay of five weeks in forwarding requested documentation to the Inspector of Prisons.
The IPS fully accepted 11 out of 12 recommendations made by the watchdog including the need to prioritise death in custody investigations and adhering to the protocol of providing all relevant material to the Inspector of Prisons within seven days of a prisoner’s death.
In response to the recommendation to carry out regular routine and unannounced cell searches, the IPS said it carried out targeted and general searches “insofar as resources allow”.
The IPS only partly accepted the recommendation that it should set a target for reducing the number of prisoners held in protection in Mountjoy as it claimed it would involve the removal of a prisoner’s entitlement to seek protection.
Doyle was jailed for a year in February 2018 for possession of drugs for sale or supply at his home on November 12, 2014.
Gardaí caught him with 446 small tablets and a money bag containing around €600. The tablets were MDMA.
Gardaí also found drug paraphernalia, including syringes and weighing scales, in a safe in Doyle’s bedroom.
Cash totalling €340 was also found in the bedroom and €2,800 was found elsewhere.
Doyle had 35 previous convictions including three previous for drug-dealing and convictions for unlawful possession of firearms in suspicious circumstances.
He also had two convictions for threatening to kill or cause serious harm and had links to a number of gangsters.
Doyle was jailed for two years in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and shotgun cartridges on two occasions at Glasnevin Avenue on January 20, 2006, and at his home on December 8 that year.