Northern Ireland news

Fresh concerns raised about Chis bill

Solicitor Niall Murphy

Fresh concerns have been raised over British government plans to allow police and MI5 agents and informers to break the law.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, which has passed its third reading at Westminster, creates authorisation for agents and informers to commit crimes as part of their work,

A host of agencies will be covered by the legislation including police, MI5 and the British military forces.

Some politicians and human rights groups have voiced strong opposition to the move.

During the Troubles state agents were involved in serious crime including murder,

Solicitor Niall Murphy, of KRW Law, has concerns.

“The particular experience of the consequences of using paramilitary informants outside of the law during the Northern Ireland conflict becomes relevant here,” he said.

“Security force intelligence practices of tolerating, facilitating and even directing serious crimes by informants fuelled the conflict, damaged the rule of law and have left a poisoned legacy to this day.”

Daniel Holder, Deputy Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, said: “Independent inquiries into our past have found that when intelligence units of the security forces were running informants they were acting as if the law did not apply to them.

"What the UK government is now doing will enable such criminal acts to be carried out within the law, instead of outside of it.”

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