The British government is to bring an appeal tomorrow against Martin Corey’s legal victory against his internment, it has emerged. Mr Corey was released on bail yesterday [Monday], but his release was dramatically blocked at the request of the British Direct Ruler, Owen Paterson.
Mr Corey was due to be released on unconditional bail after the High Court’s Justice Treacy held that Parole Commissioners breached his human rights in keeping him behind bars.
As Mr Corey was being brought to the gates of Maghaberry jail to be reunited with his friends and family, Owen Paterson requested, and was granted, an order blocking his release.
The matter went before a second judge today. Justice McCloskey acceded to the British request to deny Mr Corey bail until a Court of Appeal is convened. The Court of Appeal is to make a fresh determination tomorrow [Wednesday].
A 61-year-old from Lurgan, County Armagh, Mr Corey was freed on licence in 1992, having served 19 years in jail, but was interned in 2010 on the basis of ‘confidential’ or ‘closed’ information.
On Monday, Justice Treacy held that there had been a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. He found that the Mr Corey had been jailed on the basis of secret evidence, in contravention of his human rights.
He also found that the Parole Commissioners had misdirected themselves in law and failed to provide a sufficient safeguard against the use of secret evidence.
Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the Commissioners should reconsider the matter and directed that Corey should be released on unconditional bail in the meantime.
However, lawyers for the British Direct Ruler later returned to the High Court seeking a stay from an alternative judge, while an appeal is prepared.
Mr Corey’s barrister opposed the request, arguing there was no jurisdiction to grant the application. Karen Quinlivan QC also claimed it had been inappropriate to put her client’s release on hold following a hearing at which she was not present.
But the new judge, Mr Justice McCloskey decided on Tuesday: “The stay which the court ordered provisionally yesterday will be extended until further order of the Court of Appeal.”
In a statement, Republican Sinn Fein said that the move by the British government to overrule Justice Treacy’s bail decision exposes the lengths the British state is prepared to go in order imprison Irish republicans.
There was “not even a semblance” of due process for the veteran Republican, who has been interned without trial since April 2010.
“When it comes to dealing with Ireland and the Irish people the British state always reverts to the methods of the coloniser dealing with the colonised,” they said.
“The norms of judicial process and the rule of law are set aside in order to suppress anyone who is prepared to speak out in opposition to British occupation in Ireland.
“The actions of Owen Paterson in denying Martin Corey his freedom gives the lie to any pretence that the Six-County state is a normal democratic state.
“His action represents an attack on the human rights not just of Martin Corey but every person within the Six Counties who would dare to speak out against the status quo”.
eirigi’s Breandan Mac Cionnaith said Paterson’s actions “clearly demonstrates where the real power lies in the Six Counties”.
Mr Mac Cionnaith said the “usurping” by Owen Paterson of the court’s ruling that Martin Corey should be immediately released was “clear confirmation that a British government policy of selective internment without trial is operating within the Six Counties.
“Paterson’s unprecedented intervention, and his ordering of Martin’s re-arrest, is evidence that the so-called policing and justice reforms endorsed by the constitutional nationalist parties at Stormont are nothing more than a piece of political deception of the worst kind.”
Sinn Fein Assembly member Sean Lynch has described the move as “outrageous” and has accused the British Direct Ruler of interfering with Mr Corey’s release.
The Fermanagh/South Tyrone representative said: “It is totally unacceptable that this fly-by-night British Minister, who is not elected by anyone in the North, can imprison someone without placing any evidence or proof before the court.
“The revoking of licenses on the basis of secretive evidence not available to the accused or his solicitor is damaging confidence in the justice system.”
He said Mr Paterson should now do the right thing and end this pointless legal appeal and allow Martin Corey to return home to his family.