Irish Republican News · September 19, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Politicians challenged over informer pressure
Politicians challenged over informer pressure

A Derry man has called on members of the Policing Board, which oversees the PSNI, to state where they stand in relation to Special Branch pressure on people to turn informer.

Danny McBrearty was speaking after a man he had been at school with was approached and asked to watch Mr McBrearty and report to the police on his movements.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he was involved in a domestic incident and had left his girlfriend’s house. He added: “The next thing the police stopped me. They started hassling me and then they asked me would I help them and they would help me.

“They asked me to report on anything I could find out about Danny McBrearty. I was at school with Danny McBrearty but I don’t knock about with him or anything like that. I don’t know why they are doing this to me but I just want it to stop.”

Following the approach Mr. McBrearty said: “I have been made aware that the PSNI have been asking people to engage in surveillance of my home, my movements and my social circle.

“I have to question on what authority do the PSNI engage in this sort of activity on myself and my family at a time when there is supposed to be new policing and justice powers.

“I would call on Martina Anderson, Martin Connolly and all other members of the Policing Board or DPP in this city who are supposed to represent the nationalist/republican to justify this activity and to state where they stand in relation to this constant harassment of working class people like myself.

“I would appeal to any person who has been approached by the Special Branch to engage in this already failed tactic to come forward and to speak to whoever they fell comfortable with.

“It is despicable that these people are prying on vulnerable people to get them to turn informer and they call this community policing.”

TASER APPEAL

Meanwhile, a legal bid to ban the PSNI from using Taser stun guns has cleared the first hurdle at the High Court.

Leave has been granted for a judicial review of PSNI Chief Hugh Orde’s decision to equip officers with the weapons which are capable of delivering a potentially lethal 50,000-volt electric shock.

The challenge has been taken in the name of an unidentified child with a number of campaign groups observing proceedings.

Lawyers for the applicant, whose family are understood to have suffered a bereavement during the conflict, claim there was a failure to carry out a proper equality impact assessment before Tasers were brought in.

They also said that the weapon’s introduction breached the right to life and right to freedom from torture under the Human Rights Act.

Despite opposition from human rights groups and some Policing Board members, Orde received permission to buy 12 Tasers earlier this year.

Since then the stun gun has only been fired once -- during disturbances in Derry in August.

© 2008 Irish Republican News