Real IRA ruling to be decided at House of Lords

27/01/2005 16:21:43

A judge's controversial ruling that the Real IRA is
not an illegal terorrist organistion is to be decided
at the House of Lords.

Lawyers have been granted leave to take the case to
the House of Lords and the hearing is due to held in

Last May, Mr Justice Girvan provoked an outcry when he
declared that the dissident republican organisation -
which carried out the Omagh bomb atrocity - was not
illegal as it was not listed under the Terrorism Act

The British government moved swiftly to challenge the
ruling and within five weeks the Attorney General Lord
Goldsmith was able to persuade three judges in the
Court of Appeal in Belfast to unanimously overturn it.

The Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr, who heard the
appeal with Lord Justices Nicholson and Campbell, said
in a written judgement: "In our judgement it is
inconceivable that the legislature did not intend that
the `Real` IRA
should be proscribed and that its members should be
liable to prosecution for belonging to a proscribed

"Given the manner in which various groupings of the
IRA had been proscribed historically, we consider that
it should have been apparent to any member of the
`Real` IRA that he was guilty of an offence under
these provisions if he continued his membership or
professed it."

Mr Justice Girvan`s decision led to him clearing four
Tyrone men of Real IRA membership and one of them,
Kevin Murphy, aged 33, from Altmore Park, Coalisland,
is taking the case to the Lords.

The Court of Appeal granted leave to take the case to
the Lords after certifying that Mr Justice Girvan`s
decision involved a point of law of general public

The question five Law Lords will now have to decide
is: "Does a person commit ann offence contrary to
section 11 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2000 if he belongs
or professes to bleongto the Real Irish Republican

Solicitor Kevin Winters, who represents Mr Murphy,
said: "Mr Justice Girvan`s ruling had far-reaching
consequences, both legally and politically.

"We welcome the House of Lords sitting much sooner
that it normally would to hear this important appeal.

"It reflects the seriousness and urgency with which
the court wishes to address this issue."

Mr Winters also referred to a lenthy article in the
legal journal "Justice of the Peace" in which Francis
Bennion, a retired QC and acknowledged authority on
the interpretation of Acts of Parliament, came out
firmly in support of Mr Justice Girvan`s ruling.

Mr Bennion, a research associate of the Oxford
University Centre for socio-legal studies, stated:
"The reversal by the NI Court of Appeal is suprising
because there are strong argugments in favour of the
original decision."

The House of Lords is due to hear the appeal on April
18 and 19.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?