The family of Sharon Coughlan say they are “devastated” by the impending transfer of her murderer back to the Czech Republic, where he will serve out the remainder of his life sentence.
Last Friday, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter approved the transfer of Czech national David Brozovsky to his native country, a move likely to completed within the next few weeks.
However, the minister said the Czech authorities had given assurances that Brozovsky would continue to have his life sentence enforced and would serve at least 20 years of his life sentence before being considered for conditional release.
Brozovsky was sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2008 after pleading guilty to the rape and murder of mother of two, Sharon Coughlan the previous September.
In May of this year, the family were shocked to discover the minister was considering a transfer, saying at the time that they didn’t even know such a provision existed in Irish law. At that time, the minister deferred the transfer and met with the Coughlan family, who outlined their concerns about such a move.
They had also not been informed Brozovsky had applied for the transfer as far back as July 2008 – just seven months into his life sentence.
“There is a right way and a wrong way of handling things – we sincerely hope that no other family will ever be approached in the manner we were first approached, to be informed, as a matter of fact, that Sharon’s murderer was going back to the Czech Republic,” the family said in a statement this week.
The Department said it has been long established Government policy that whenever possible prisoners should be permitted to serve their sentences close to their families.
In the period 1995 to 2011, approximately 140 Irish citizens were transferred to Ireland from abroad to serve their sentence here and a similar number of foreign prisoners were returned to their home country abroad to serve their sentence there.
In a statement, the Department of Justice said the minister was at all times conscious of the events of 2007 and of their impact on family members. The statement said he gave “careful consideration” to their views and took them into account in making his decision.
However, the family said it was clear the Minister would not change his mind despite the “ongoing hurt, distress and devastation” suffered since Sharon’s death five years ago.
“The man who raped and murdered our Sharon gets to go home to his own country and he gets to see his family,” they said.
The cost of the transfer will be borne by the Czech Republic, who may ask the prisoner to reimburse the State some of the costs, the Department of Justice said. Once in prison in the Czech Republic, all costs associated with incarcerating Brozovsky will be met by the Czechs.