30/04/2009

Murder Accused Wins Right To Challenge 'Surveillance'

A high-profile republican accused of murdering two soldiers has been granted permission by the High Court to challenge the prison service's silence about what he suspects is covert bugging while in custody.

Colin Duffy, 41, is seeking assurances that the authorities will not bug his legal consultations while in custody charged with the double killing of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, (pictured here).

The soldiers were gunned down at the gates of Massereene Army base in Antrim on March 7 while they collected pizzas from delivery men.

His successful bid will now lead to the prison authorities being forced to answer his challenges over whether or not any surveillance is being undertaken.
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Duffy, a former mainstream republican from Lurgan, Co Armagh, is also charged with five counts of attempted murder and possession of arms and ammunition in connection with the Real IRA shootings.

His lawyers applied for leave to seek a judicial review based on the uncertainty surrounding any conversations he has while being held.

Barry Macdonald QC told a two judge panel headed by Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr it would be completely unlawful for any monitoring to be carried out.

The court action follows a previous bugging incident, which led - in 2006 - to the PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde being grilled by the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

That meeting was about allegations that a solicitor - who was later arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences - had been secretly bugged during confidential meetings with clients while in police custody.

See: Chief Constable to meet with Law Society over bugging claim

(BMcC/JM)

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