Terrorism Act detention extension overturned by High Court

As the BBC report, following an emergency judicial review, a High Court panel headed by Northern Ireland’s Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, has overturned a County Court ruling allowing police to detain six people for questioning about recent republican paramilitary murders for an additional 7 days under the 2006 Terrorism Act. The six must now be charged or released. [Adds RTÉ report] Update Five released, Colin Duffy re-arrested. From the BBC report

After hearing an emergency judicial review application, a High Court panel headed by Northern Ireland’s Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, overturned the county court judge’s decision. “By reason only of the judge’s conclusion that she was precluded from considering the lawfulness of the applicants arrest I have decided that her decision must be quashed,” he said.

A solicitor representing one of those being questioned over the murder of Constable Carroll said he now expected his client to be released. Joe McVeigh, of Kevin R Winters solicitors, welcomed the ruling. “We have always taken the view that not to examine the conduct of arresting officers when considering to detain people under the Terrorism Act has always been a breach of human rights,” he said.

Adds High Court ruling is online here. Extract below the fold.
Key paragraphs from the ruling

[28] It appears to us, therefore, that paragraphs 5 and 32 of Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act must be read in conformity with the requirements of article 5 (3) of the Convention as they have been explained in the jurisprudence of the European Court. The review of the lawfulness of the detention must embrace an examination of the basis for the arrest. If it were otherwise, a person could be detained under the 2000 Act for up to twenty eight days without there having been any judicial review of the lawfulness of the original arrest and that, in our view, could not be compliant with article 5 of ECHR.

[29] We have concluded, therefore, that the learned judge was wrong to disavow any review of the lawfulness of the applicants’ arrest and on that account her decision must be quashed. In fairness to her, it should be recorded that she was urged by counsel for the respondent to that view and that paragraph 5 of Schedule 8, read in isolation, does appear to preclude such a review.

[30] We accept Mr Maguire’s argument that a review of the lawfulness of arrest need not involve a detailed analysis of the basis for the decision to arrest and it should reflect the constraints that necessarily apply in many arrests for terrorist offences where the full information on which a decision to arrest is taken cannot, for reasons of public safety, be revealed. It would be unwise to essay a more specific prescription than this, however, since much will depend on the particular facts of an individual arrest.

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