Bid to send Hooded Men case straight to Supreme Court

A legal challenge to the alleged torture of 14 men during internment in Northern Ireland could be set to go directly to the UK's highest court.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 6:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 6:31 pm
Some of those involved in the Hooded Men appeal
Some of those involved in the Hooded Men appeal

Lawyers involved in the so-called Hooded Men case want permission to “leapfrog” the usual route and bring any appeal straight to the Supreme Court in London.

The application is based on the public interest in ensuring a final outcome for surviving members of the group in proceedings related to their treatment nearly half a century ago.

In October a High Court judge ruled that a police decision to end preliminary inquiries into suspected British government-sanctioned torture of the men is to be quashed.

Mr Justice Maguire held that research undertaken to establish any criminality around their deep interrogation in 1971 had been too narrow and lacked focus.

But he rejected related claims that the state was in breach of a legal obligation to carry out a full and independent investigation into their treatment – because the events occurred decades before human rights legislation came into force.

The verdict left the PSNI facing a fresh process on how to handle allegations of ministerial involvement which emerged in a 2014 television documentary.

Lawyers in the case returned to court this week seeking a certificate that would allow any challenge to the outcome to bypass the Court of Appeal.

Although no appeal has been confirmed, Mr Justice Maguire was told the bid to take a leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court was agreed by the parties.

Hugh Southey QC, representing most of the surviving Hooded Men, contended: “If ever there was a case where a certificate is appropriate this is that case.”

Following submissions judgment was reserved in the application.