Northern Ireland

Police's Operation Exposure photo 'invaded privacy'

Police who published a photograph of a 14-year-old boy breached his privacy, the High Court has been told.

Pictures of young people suspected of crime have been published by police in Londonderry in its Operation Exposure initiative.

Lawyers for the teenager claimed this "naming and shaming" was flawed.

His family is seeking a judicial review of the tactic of releasing photos of people suspected of involvement in interface crime and sectarian clashes.

A lawyer for the teenager challenged both the decision to publish and the lawfulness of the operation.

The court heard the youth had already made admissions after being arrested in connection with an incident in June.

His lawyer said an investigation should be held into why his image was then published over a separate alleged incident for which he has not been charged.

'Last resort'

He said the tactic should only be used "as an absolute last resort because it offends the privacy of the child".

A barrister for the chief constable said police would use a briefing system to try to identify suspects internally before any decision was taken to publish.

He said only a breach of privacy - which he disputed - could be argued by the teenager's legal team.

"They are not photographs of a boy doing his homework taken through a window at night," he said.

"These are photographs taken by police officers, no doubt in liveried vehicles or in uniform at the time."

He argued the initiative had a broader scope to include building community confidence and steering people away from crime.

Mr Justice Treacy reserved judgement on whether to grant leave for the teenager to seek a judicial review.

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