Duffy granted judicial review over spy tactics
Duffy granted judicial review over spy tactics

Colin Duffy has been granted permission by the High Court to challenge prison service silence about any covert surveillance being used against him.

Mr Duffy, a so-called ‘dissident’ who is being held over the ‘Real IRA’ attack at Massareene British Army base in March, is seeking assurances that the authorities will not spy on his legal consultations while he is in custody.

A critic of the peace process and a long-standing target for the British Crown forces, Mr Duffy has a documented history of Crown force harassment, false arrest and false imprisonment.

Mr Duffy was last month charged with killing two British soldiers in the gun attack after a controversial record detention at Antrim interrogation centre.

His lawyers applied for leave to seek a judicial review based on the uncertainty over the suspected tapping of his conversations while in custody.

Barry MacDonald told a judicial panel that it would be completely unlawful for any monitoring to be carried out. So far the prison service has refused to confirm or deny whether any surveillance is taking place.

With Duffy delaying an application for bail until he receives confirmation that no-one is listening in, it was also stated that his right to liberty had been compromised.

“The prison service have had over four weeks to consider their response. In the circumstances our applicant is not in a position to consult with legal representatives for the purpose of making a bail application.”

Should Duffy win his judicial review case and be granted bail he will be seeking damages for the loss of liberty caused by the delay, his lawyer said.

After hearing both sides, the judge granted leave to apply for a judicial review on the basis that an arguable case had been presented.


Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness has been told by the PSNI police of a threat against his life from an unnamed dissident group.

Last weekend, Mr McGuinness stood at Free Derry Wall in the city’s nationalist Bogside area to blame those behind the threat for the economic failure gripping the city.

Mr McGuinness, who sparked a major controversy earlier this month when he described dissident republicans as “traitors to the island of Ireland”, was accompanied by about 50 Sinn Féin supporters during the press conference.

It is believed the threat warning followed an incident in the Bogside earlier this week when a man believed to be a member of a dissident group was overheard making threats against Mr McGuinness.

“During my life I have been under threat from groups such as the British state agencies and loyalist murder gangs. It seems now this small unsupported group has joined those groups,” he said.

“Their threats will not deter me from doing my work as Deputy First Minister and as an MP. I have a job to do in terms of building the peace process and achieving the ultimate political objective of reunification. Their threats and activities will not succeed.”

The Mid Ulster MP told journalists his wife and children had suffered verbal abuse from what he described as dissident “mouthpieces”.

The press conference was the third time this week the Sinn Féin leadership has spoken out against breakaway republicans.

“We are dealing with a set of impostors here - people who are trying to hijack the republican cause for their own purposes,” Mr McGuinness said.

“Well, they’re not going to succeed.

“We have a job to do. Yes it is a difficult job and yes it may be a dangerous job and yes some of us may lose our lives in the future.

“But I am not going to be threatened.

“I am not going to be intimidated and I am certainly not going to live my life in fear.

“I have a job to do and I intend to do that job.”

The deputy First Minister also condemned a threat to his life issued by the Real IRA at its Easter commemoration in Derry, saying it was “ironic” that it was made at a memorial to deceased members of the Provisional IRA and not those of breakaway groups.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams also strongly criticised dissidents this week, saying: “Militarism, elitism or adventurism is no substitute to strategy, for tactics, for common sense.” He said Sinn Féin had no intention of surrendering to “any of these elements”.

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