British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers has won a legal bid to continue the internment of veteran republican Martin Corey.
Senior judges upheld a challenge brought by the state to a ruling that Martin Corey’s human rights had been breached in keeping him behind bars.
It means the 65-year-old will remain in jail, at least until separate proceedings go before the Supreme Court in London.
Mr Corey, from Lurgan, County Armagh, was interned in April 2010 when former British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward ordered his “recall” to prison on the basis of “closed material” and unspecified allegations of involvement with “dissidents”.
In July this year, he won a judicial review over a Parole Commissioners decision to keep him behind bars and was ordered released on bail. A High Court judge held that their determination on whether it was safe to release him had breached his rights under European law. He found that the open evidence did not advance the British case against Corey, meaning that the decision was solely based on “closed” or “secret” evidence.
Amid a legal scramble, pending a full appeal against the judgment, lawyers for the British government successfully applied for a stay on the bail order. They argued that the High Court has no jurisdiction to grant bail in judicial review proceedings. Corey’s legal team are currently seeking to challenge that determination at the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the appeal against the judicial review ruling was heard by three senior judges. It was argued that there was enough open material to allow Corey the chance to present a defence.
The Court of Appeal had to decide whether the process undertaken by the panel, involving a “gist” of the information, was flawed. Judges carried out the assessment without access to the alleged secret material.
Delivering judgment on Friday, Justice Morgan said there were “specific” allegations in regard to conversations Mr Corey had taken part in.
“We cannot infer that the disclosure was inadequate,” he said. “A denial by the detainee that a meeting occurred or that a topic was discussed addresses a specific allegation and is quite different from the denial of a general allegation such as membership of an organisation.”
Sinn Fein Justice Spokesperson Raymond McCartney Assembly member has said Mr Corey’s internment should end.
“Today’s decision to continue the detention of Martin Corey needs to be challenged,” he said.
“The British Secretary of State cannot be allowed to continue the internment of Martin Corey on unseen evidence.
“Either the PSNI bring charges against Martin Corey that will allow him the opportunity to defend himself in a court of law or they should release him immediately.”