Register of former prisoners to face judicial review

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A County Tyrone man has won the legal right to challenge oppressive new powers directed at former republican prisoners.

Damien McLaughlin was granted leave at the High Court to seek a judicial review of legislation the PSNI has used to obtain search warrants without justification. The regime introduced last year also means he and other prisoners must inform the British authorities about any travel arrangements.

Fears have been expressed the new register could be used to facilitate a broad internment of republicans without trial.

The requirements also include providing the PSNI with any email addresses, phone numbers, and notifying them of any vehicle owned or driven and handing over bank account details.

In 2011, Mr McLaughlin received a four and a half year sentence on arms charges. He was subsequently extradited from Donegal into British jurisdiction for a trial which ultimately collapsed.

The Tyrone man is now challenging the PSNI and the British Home Secretary over provisions contained within the so-called ‘Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act’.

His legal team have said the PSNI can use the legislation to carry out searches without having to give a reason. It is also being challenged over the requirement to provide personal details and information on any planned trips.

The new regime is unfair and incompatible with McLaughlin’s human rights, his lawyers argued.

Mr Justice McAlinden ruled that an arguable case had been established. He granted leave to apply for a judicial review, with a full hearing listed for later in the year.

Urgent Appeal

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