Duffy detention for Supreme Court
Duffy detention for Supreme Court

Colin Duffy is to go before Britain’s highest court to challenge his period of pre-charge detention.

Senior judges in Belfast have agreed to certify a question for the Supreme Court to consider in the case of the high profile republican, who has suffered numerous cases of persecution at the hands of the Six-County police and justice system.

Mr Duffy, from Lurgan, is still awaiting trial on charges he was involved in a ‘Real IRA’ attack on a British Army base in Antrim in March2009, in which two British soldiers died. His family have said he was set up as a target for arrest, and that his detention, first to Antrim interrogation centre and subsequently to Maghaberry prison, amounts to internment without trial. Last month, Mr Duffy marked his second anniversary of detention at Maghaberry.

Earlier this year he and others held over the shootings failedto win a court declaration that their pre-charge detention contravened human rights laws.

Under a new British law, they could be kept in custody for up to 28 days before either being formally accused or released.

The court ruled that a person could be kept behind bars without charge without a continuing need to demonstrate a ‘reasonable suspicion’ [of guilt].

Lawyers for the men argued thatrelevant sections of the legislation were incompatible with their right to liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights.

A three-judge panel, headed by Chief Justice Declan Morgan, has now agreed to certify questions for the Supreme Court to consider on a point of law of general public importance.

The move has been seen asstrengthening the case for Duffy and the other three when their lawyers petition the Supreme Court.

“These are concerns that need to be addressed in light of the powers available to detain someone without the possibility of release on bail,” Paul Pierce, of Kevin R Winters solicitors, who represents two of them, said.

“Clearly these are issues that need to be determined by the Supreme Court.”


Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew has provided a character reference for Gerry McGeough, a former member of the Sinn Fein leadership, convicted last month of an IRA action over 30 years ago.

The reference stating that Gerry McGeough presents no threat to the peace process, along with other mitigating factors, should lead to a lenient sentence, a barrister for the Tyrone republican told Belfast Crown Court on Friday.

The prosecution has urged that he receive a 25-year sentence for attempting to kill a UDR British soldier in 1981. It is believed that, under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, Mr McGeough can serve no more than two years.

Sentencing will take place next week. Mr McGough is expected to be unable to attend due to the serious effect on his health of strip searches. The aggressive and humiliating strip searches, carried out on republicans at Maghabery jail, both before and after court hearings, forced McGough to receive emergency medical treatment last month.

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