Lurgan republican Colin Duffy is to sue the PSNI for unlawful arrest after a judge ordered his release from custody following his latest detention last week.
Judge Gemma Loughran released Mr Duffy and another man on Sunday evening after the PSNI refused to disclose alleged “intelligence”. The men were arrested on Friday in connection with the shooting death of senior prison official David Black.
Lawyer Kevin Winters said the two men would be “issuing High Court civil actions for damages for wrongful arrest and unlawful detention”. It will be Duffy’s second legal challenge to illegal detentions, as another case of his is set to go before the European Court of Human Rights.
Mr Duffy has been a routine target of Crown force harassment throughout his adult life, and a victim of a miscarriage of justice and a litany of wrongful arrests. In 1999, his defence lawyer Rosemary Nelson was assassinated.
Earlier this year, and after almost three years held without bail, he was finally acquitted of the 2009 ‘Real IRA’ attack on Massereene army barracks. He had been held in PSNI custody for a record 13 days before being charged in connection with that attack, in respect of which his lawyers are now taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Speaking after his release on Sunday, he said: “They may come back and arrest me again but the court has ruled that without evidence my arrest was unlawful.
“And that will remain the case as there will never be any evidence, because I had no involvement whatsoever. I was told that I was being arrested as a result of intelligence but not told what that intelligence was.”
He said the PSNI “seem to think they can do what they want”.
“Even when directed by the court they refused to present us with this alleged intelligence,” he said.
“Obviously the general inference that will be drawn from my arrest is that I am in some way guilty and there are people who would like for that to be the inference. But I did not have any involvement in the offences for which I was arrested.”
Asked if he had been arrested as an opportunistic ‘fishing exercise’ for information by the PSNI, he said: “I wouldn’t even class it as a fishing exercise. The only reason for my arrest is that I am a republican from that general area.”