Northern Ireland news

Man arrested over dissident republican activity in legal challenge over police remotely monitoring interviews

The high court in Belfast

A WEST Belfast man arrested as part of an investigation into dissident republican activity has launched a legal challenge to police remotely monitoring interviews with terror suspects.

Risteard Ó Murchú was detained by detectives on Wednesday but released later that night unconditionally.

While in custody the 49-year-old was allegedly informed that his interviews were to be "downstreamed" - observed at another location by other individuals.

The Ballymurphy man's lawyers said they secured a police undertaking that no monitoring would be carried out after bringing an emergency case to the High Court.

Mr Ó Murchú has now commenced a wider attempt to have the policy declared unlawful.

A judicial review hearing has been listed for next month.

Mr Ó Murchú's solicitor, Michael Brentnall, confirmed: "Our client is challenging the use of remote monitoring, or downstreaming, of his interview under the Terrorism Act.

"He asserts there is no explicit statutory or legal basis to underpin this process, thus rendering the procedure illegal."

According to Mr Brentnall there are no codes of practice or guidelines in place.

He added: "Without this there are no safeguards, leaving the process open to abuse."

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