A Co Tyrone man who served a prison term for weapons offences has won the legal right to challenge new powers aimed at cracking down on terrorist activity.
Damien McLaughlin was granted leave at the High Court to seek a judicial review of legislation police can use to obtain search warrants.
Lawyers for the 43-year-old claim his right to privacy is being breached by a regime which also means he must inform the authorities about any foreign travel arrangements.
In 2011 McLaughlin, from Kilmascally Road in Ardboe, received a four and a half year sentence for having rifles and possessing articles for use in terrorist purposes.
Seven years later he was cleared of separate charges linked to the November 2012 killing of prison officer David Black.
But at one stage, while on bail, McLaughlin went missing for nearly four months.
He was detained again in Co Donegal in March 2017, and extradited back to Northern Ireland for a trial which ultimately collapsed.
McLaughlin is now challenging the PSNI and the Home Secretary over provisions contained within the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.
His legal team contend that police can obtain a warrant to search property without having to show reasonable suspicion.
Issues have also been raised about a requirement to provide personal details and information on any planned trips.
The new regime is unfair and incompatible with McLaughlin’s human rights, it was claimed.
Counsel for the authorities under challenge, Neasa Murnaghan QC, insisted the powers were aimed at “frustrating” terrorism.
But following submissions 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
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story
Tough new approach by NIO
” The government will not hesitate to use all the powers at its disposalaccder the law to counter the residual terrorist threat ” – Mike Penning.
A FORMER Republican prisoner accused of supplying a car to the killers of prison officer David Black has had his release licence revoked. Damien McLaughlin (36) from Kilmascally Road, Ardboe, in Co Tyrone was told last week that his governmentrelease from prison, where he had served a sentence for firearms offences, has been overturned.
It is believed to be the first time a former republican prisoner convicted of an offence committed after the Provisional IRA‘s 1994 ceasefire has had their release licence revoked. McLaughlin is on remand in Maghaberry Prison charged in connection with the shooting of Mr Black by dissident republicans last November. He is accused of being involved in transporting a car belived to have been used in the attack into the from Co Litrim. McLaughlin denies the charge of ‘ preparation of a terrorest-act ‘. Mr Black, a father-of-two, died after gunmen opened fire on his Audi car as he drove to work at Maghaberry Prison.The attack took place on the M1 near Lurgan, Co Armagh. A group styling itself ‘ the IRA ‘ later admitted responsability for the attack. In 2011 McLaughlin was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for weapons offences dating back to 2009. He pleaded guilty to possessing two rifles, a sawn-off shotgun and ammuntion. He also admitted having two silencers, a magazine and two telescopic sights. The haul was discovered in a rucksack liner in the boot of his car which was parked outside the house where he lived at the time. He was released later in 2011 on conditation he serve the remainder on probatition and after serving some time on remand. In September last year he received a suspended jail sentence after being convicted of damaging his cell at Maghaberry Prison during a republican prison protest.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office said the decision to revoke McLaughlin’s release licence was taken after a recommendation from the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland that ” he poses a risk of harm to the public which can no longer be safely managed in the community “. NIO junior minister Mike Penning, who revoked the licence on behalf of Secretary of State Teresa Villiers said : ” The government will not hesitate to use all the powers at its disposal under the law to counter the residual terrorist threat.” Mr McLaughlin’s solicitor Peter Corrigan said his client will ” be challenging the legality of the revocation “. UUP justice spokesman Tom Elliot defended the move. ” At this particular time there is a suspected connection with a serious incident which is murder and obviously they need to take all reasonable precautions in those cases,” he said. Two other republicans, Marian Price-McGlinchey and Martin Corey , are also being held in prison after having their release licences revoked. Price (58) was originally jailed for her part in the 1973 Old Baily bombing and released in 1980. However, her relese licence was revoked in 2011 by then Secretary of State Owen Paterson. Corey (63) from Lurgan in Co Armagh was convicted of killing two RUC men in11973 and released from prison in 1992. His licence was revoked in April 2010, again by Owen Paterson.
With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.