Legal fight against British oppression

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An Irish citizen is set to go to the Supreme Court over being forced to inform authorities about trips outside British jurisdiction.

Earlier this year Anthony McDonnell, a former prisoner, was included on a new register of republicans in the Six Counties which imposes draconian limitations on their movements.

He has not been charged with any offence. He is arguing that the conditions imposed on him unlawfully restrain his right to free movement under European law.

Under the Soviet-inspired legislation, Mr McDonnell must inform the authorities in advance of any proposed trip of three days or more outside the jurisdiction. A further obligation involves confirming his return within three days. Any failure to comply is considered a criminal act.

Earlier this year High Court judges in Belfast rejected his case, ruling that “public protection” outweighed any restriction on the travel arrangements of individuals.

Mr McDonnell, from west Belfast, wants to continue visiting the south of Ireland for family reasons. During school holidays he takes his children to stay at a relative’s caravan in County Louth, In June 2017, he encountered problems in ensuring the PSNI police recorded his return.

His lawyer revealed they have now certified a legal point of general public importance for potential consideration on appeal to the Supreme Court. An application will be made for justices sitting in London to consider the merits of the case before the planned Brexit date of October 31.

JUDICIAL REVIEW INTO SEARCH POWERS

In a parallel development, a schoolboy has been granted leave to seek a judicial review into a stop-and-search operation in west Belfast.

The legal action comes amid concern within the nationalist community over the increasing use of stop-and-search powers against children. A recent analysis revealed that children in the North have been detained and searched 35,000 times over the past eight years.

The boy, who cannot be identified, was just 14 when a group of PSNI stopped the car he was in with his father last September. They were both searched under ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation, but nothing was found.

“Where section 43 is to be used on a child then there has to be reasonable suspicion that the person to be searched is a terrorist,” Barrister Joseph O’Keefe argued before the High Court. The case was listed for a full hearing in December.

The British Direct Ruler Julian Smith is also being challenged over his failure to issue a code of practice which adequately protects children.

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