PSNI COURT PRIVACY ROW
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
THREE members of the Irish parliament observing proceedings in the continuing case against Stephen Murney have complained about an invasion of privacy after being filmed by the PSNI as they entered Newry courthouse.
The three - Socialist Party representative Clare Daly and Independents Mick Wallace and Maureen O'Sullivan - were there for the latest in a long series of hearings in the Murney case. The Derrybeg man has been held on what his supporters claim is a form of internment since November last year.
The 29-year-old is charged with terrorism related offences but his defence told Wednesday's court it intends proving the charges have no basis in evidence and he has no case to answer.
And it also asked that a complaint be put on record with the court on behalf of the three southern parliamentarians, who were filmed by police along with some 40 of Murney's supporters who'd staged an hour-long protest at the courthouse entrance.
During the short hearing, which was adjourned until Tuesday October 15 when full legal submissions in relation to the case will be heard, defence solicitor Peter Corrigan made a formal protest to the court regarding the behaviour of the PSNI in the courthouse that morning, saying it had amounted to "an invasion of privacy".
But District Judge Eamonn King retorted: "What do you want me to do about it?", adding that the matter was out of his jurisdiction.
Murney has been behind bars since his November arrest after refusing to accept "punishing" conditions set by the court for his release on bail, including being banned from entering Newry, where his partner and their young son live with him in Derrybeg, and electronic tagging.
Commenting on the incident, a police spokesperson said: "We can can confirm that a protest took place at Newry Courthouse on Wednesday. One of the police tactics for dealing with situations which have the potential for disorder is to capture video evidence of any such disorder and we can confirm that this was in place on Wednesday.
"This was focused on those involved in protest and not on any individual attending court for any other purpose. Fortunately, in this instance, no disorder occurred."
• See page 8 for full story
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