Northern Ireland

Sean Hackett: Legal action over alleged medical failures

Sean Hackett Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Sean Hackett shot his father at their family home in January 2013

A man jailed for shooting dead his father is taking legal action over alleged failures to provide medical treatment for a mental health disorder.

Lawyers for Sean Hackett claim prison authorities have not complied with a court recommendation that he should receive appropriate psychotherapy.

Aloysius Hackett was shot at the family home near Augher, County Tyrone in 2013.

Hackett is serving a minimum seven year sentence for manslaughter.

A jury found the ex-GAA player guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility after acquitting him of murder.

It emerged during his trial that he had suffered depression in the preceding months, triggered by a split from his girlfriend.

In September 2015, he won his appeal against the original sentence of 10 years behind bars, before he can be considered for release on licence.

Delusional

Up to five psychiatrists backed the view that Hackett was in a delusional state of mind when he carried out the killing at the age of 18.

Based on the additional medical evidence, the Court of Appeal accepted his ability to form a rational judgment had been significantly impaired.

At the time Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan decided against making a hospital order, but said the case required the Department of Justice to urgently consider a transfer.

He also identified a compelling need for Hackett to receive appropriate psychotherapy at a suitable location.

However, Hackett's legal team claim nothing has been done to implement those recommendations.

Image caption The case was heard at Belfast High Court

Case adjourned

At the High Court on Wednesday, Hackett's barrister was set to open his application for leave to seek a judicial review of the Department of Justice's alleged failures.

However, the case was adjourned amid arguments that the relevant health trust should become involved.

Further submissions are expected to be heard next month.