Northern Ireland

No challenge to Bernard Fox and Marvin Canning stop and search case

Bernard Fox
Image caption Bernard Fox took part in the 1981 IRA hunger strikes inside the Maze Prison

A planned Supreme Court challenge to a ruling that stop, search and question operations involving two republicans were unlawful has been abandoned.

Cases were brought by former IRA hunger striker Bernard Fox and Marvin Canning, a brother-in-law of Martin McGuinness.

On Friday, senior judges in Belfast were told an appeal by the chief constable and secretary of state in the cases was no longer being pursued.

Both men are now to press ahead with claims for damages against the PSNI.

Mr Canning's lawyer disclosed his client had been stopped more than 100 times.

Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal held there was a lack of adequate safeguards against potential abuse of the system used under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.

Mr Canning, from the Glendara area of Londonderry, claimed the stop and question powers were incompatible with his right to privacy under European law.

The 55-year-old alleged that officers were sometimes oppressive and confrontational.

He denies any involvement in terrorism but confirmed he is a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, stating it is not an illegal organisation.

Police had rejected claims that powers under the act were arbitrarily used against him.

Handbag

A similar judicial review challenge was brought by Mr Fox, who took part in the 1981 IRA hunger strikes inside the Maze Prison, and his companion Christine McNulty.

The Belfast man served more than 20 years in prison for offences including possession of explosives, before being released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Police stopped a car he and Ms McNulty were travelling in near Camlough, County Armagh, in March 2011.

Their vehicle was searched for munitions, while an officer allegedly took Ms McNulty's handbag and went through its contents.

Fox denies any involvement with dissident republican activities.

Police argued that the power was not intended to be used randomly, but rather on the basis of threat.

Lawyers in both cases successfully overturned a previous High Court decision that no violation under the European Convention on Human Rights had occurred.

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