Man lost job after PSNI demanded his phone


A former hospital porter has secured High Court permission to challenge the lawfulness of having his phone seized by the PSNI.

West Belfast man Brendan McCann was granted leave to seek a judicial review of decisions to apply for and grant a warrant to search him at work.

He said the PSNI’s actions led to him being sacked from his job at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

According to papers in the case, he started working at the hospital through a recruitment agency in March 2020. But two months later, plain-clothed PSNI men approached him in front of colleagues and seized his mobile phone.

With no arrest made, Mr McCann understood those involved to be “spooks”, or undercover agents. He described the incident as shocking and embarrassing, adding that he subsequently lost his job.

“I am convinced that the actions of the police, who were there on foot of a warrant authorised by a lay magistrate, ultimately got me sacked,” he said.

Proceedings have been issued against the PSNI for seeking the search warrant. The challenge is also directed at the Courts’ Service for the decision to grant the permit for the seizure.

There has been no suggestion at any stage of any illegal activity on his part.

Mr McCann’s legal team are claiming a violation of his right to privacy, and concerns centre on who accessed his family photos and his messages. A judge ruled this week that the case should now proceed to a full hearing.

Mr McCann’s lawyer, Michael Brentnall, confirmed: “My client has been granted leave for judicial review of the decision to grant a warrant in such broad terms to search his place of work in its entirety.

“He contends that it was over and above what was reasonable and legal, in clear breach of his human rights and that the application for the warrant and the warrant itself should be quashed.”

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