Camera found in prisoner's watch

Gate at Maghaberry Prison

Camera equipment was found in the watch of an inmate at the jail where murdered prison officer David Black worked, it has been revealed.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012
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The device was discovered at Maghaberry during searches last month.

Justice Minister David Ford said: "During a routine search of a prisoner on October 8 2012 he was found to be wearing a watch which had an inbuilt camera and recording facility. This is a prohibited article and was confiscated by staff.

"The prisoner has been charged with an offence under prison rules."

Mr Black, a 52-year-old father of two, was shot by gunmen on the M1 near Lurgan, Co Armagh on Thursday 1 November as he drove to work at the high security jail.

The attack has been claimed by a republican paramilitary outfit calling itself the IRA

A statement from the group said the killing was linked to conditions at Maghaberry, where republican prisoners are refusing to wash in an attempt to secure political status.

It is understood the prisoner in possession of the camera was a foreign national being held within the main body of the Co Antrim jail, not at Roe House where a dirty protest is being held by up to 30 dissidents.

The information was released in response to a written Assembly question from Lord Morrow.

Mr Morrow said: "We have to remember why prisoners are in jail - it is not for any good that they have done, rather for a crime they have committed.

"The murder of David Black demonstrates how vulnerable our prison officers are. We have got to give them as much support as possible. We must deal with issues that potentially put them at risk.

"The fact that this camera was found in a watch makes it worse because it was covert. There needs to be a complete re-think on devices which permit recording, whether it is either audio or visual."

It is understood the watch-camera could be bought for less than £100 over the internet and was not a highly sophisticated piece of equipment.