A veteran republican today won his court challenge against his internment -- but his release was dramatically blocked by the British government.
Martin Corey, a 61-year-old man from County Armagh, was ordered to be freed on unconditional bail after he surprisingly won a legal challenge against his internment this afternoon.
But in a dramatic day for the North of Ireland’s irregular judicial system, the British Direct Ruler Owen Paterson intervened to order his continued detention.
The Lurgan man was sentenced to life in 1973 and was released in 1992. But his release licence was revoked in 2010 over ‘secret’ allegations which were never revealed. In one of the most high-profile internments of the post-peace process era, the former British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward then ordered Mr Corey’s imprisonment on the basis of “closed material”.
The court hearing today centred on the legality of the secrecy surrounding the basis upon which the veteran political dissident was sent back to jail.
In August last year the Parole Commissioners decided that the revocation of Mr Corey’s licence should remain in force. They considered what was described as ‘open’ material, as well as ‘confidential’ material, of which neither Corey nor his legal representatives had sight.
Mr Corey received an unexpected endorsement this afternoon from an infamously anti-republican judge, Justice Treacy, who ruled this afternoon that parole commissioners had breached his human rights in refusing to release him.
He held there had been a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights which states that anyone deprived of their liberty can have the lawfulness of detention decided by a court.
The judge found that the so-called ‘open’ evidence did not advance the British Direct Ruler’s case against Corey, meaning that his decision was solely based on the ‘confidential’ material.
Justice Treacy also ruled that the Parole Commissioners misdirected themselves in law and failed to provide a sufficient safeguard against the secretive claims of the British government.
After the court ruling, his supporters expressed elation, but also concern at the slowness of the authorities at Maghaberry prison to act on the court order.
There fears were not helped by the mainstream media, all of whom reported in turn that Mr Corey had in fact been released to his family and friends.
It was hours later that it was confirmed that the British government had blocked his release. No grounds for that action have yet been expressed. There is to be a further court hearing tomorrow [Tuesday].
We will update this story as further information becomes available.