The PSNI has returned a box of security force intelligence files to Jamie Bryson in what the loyalist blogger says is “a major climb down”.
Mr Bryson says the intelligence files relate to those responsible for the IRA Kingsmills Massacre in south Armagh in 29176, which he had possession of in his capacity as a blogger and commentator.
The atrocity saw ten Protestant workmen cut down by the IRA as they returned home in a minibus.
Mr Bryson says he was supplied with the documents by sources due to his motivation to “subject republicans to the same level of scrutiny as loyalists and the UK state is being subjected to”.
The documents were seized from him by police as part of an investigation into the unlicensed supply of door men in the north Down area.
However Mr Bryson has brought a judicial review to challenge the validity of the warrant used.
His lawyers also argued that officers had no legal power to take journalistic material.
But Tony McGleenan QC, for the PSNI and Security Industry Authority (SIA), said they were “unaware of his credentials as a journalist, unaware of his affiliation to any trade union or association.
“They didn’t seek journalistic material; the investigation into doormen ... is obviously not one which would turn up journalistic material.”
Mr Bryson said police later arrived at his solicitor’s office on Thursday and handed over a box with the Kingsmills files.
“They said they accepted that it was journalistic material. This is a major climb down by the PSNI,” he said.
All of the Kingsmills files have been returned he said, but other notebooks have not.
The coroner in the ongoing Kingsmills Massacre legacy inquest has written to Mr Bryson requesting the documents.
Mr Bryson said he will help as far as he can without compromising sources. “I will be happy to meet the Kingsmills families,” he added.
Regarding the SIA investigation, he said he has not been charged with any offence and is totally innocent.
He did start up a company and put up to 20 people through formal door supervision training, but the company never traded, he said.
A sole trader whom Mr Bryson does administrative work for, as JWB Consultancy, later employed some of the same people as doormen, he said.
The PSNI has been invited to comment.