John Catt Brighton 'extremism' case at Supreme Court

John Catt John Catt won his case at the Court of Appeal last year

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A decision that a Brighton peace activist's details can be removed from an extremism database is being challenged in the UK's highest court.

Last year, John Catt, 89, went to the Court of Appeal to claim the retention of data was unlawful and won his case.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) are challenging the ruling at the Supreme Court.

The hearing is expected to last three days.

'Lawful political activity'

The National Domestic Extremism Database is maintained by the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, originally under the supervision of Acpo and now under the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

The data at the centre of the case comprises records or reports made by officers overtly policing demonstrations of protest group Smash EDO, which has campaigned against EDO - a US-owned arms company with a factory in Brighton.

Mr Catt has taken part in a number of campaigns, but has not engaged in any criminality.

In a statement, he said: "This hearing comes over five years since I first asked Acpo to explain the surveillance of my lawful political activities.

"In my view at every stage the police have failed to provide an adequate answer to my simple and straight forward question: how can they seek to justify in law the way in which they have sought to keep tabs on me and my lawful political activities?"

After last year's ruling, the Metropolitan Police said police databases were maintained in compliance with a statutory code of practice.

The force said the decision made by the Court of Appeal raised a number of issues relating to professional practice.

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