Menu Close

Northern Ireland Police Obtained Reporters’ Phone Data, Tribunal Hears

TOPSHOT - People watch the April's full moonset, also known as the "Pink Moon", rising behind the clouds in Singapore on April 24, 2024. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s police force regularly obtained reporters’ telephone billing data to find out if police officers had been leaking information, lawyers representing two investigative journalists told a London tribunal on Wednesday.

Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, who are suing the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), say they have been provided with documents suggesting the PSNI targeted reporters in the province to obtain their sources.

The PSNI’s lawyers did not respond to the allegations at Wednesday’s hearing and agreed to provide evidence in response ahead of another preliminary hearing in July. The force did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Birney and McCaffrey made a documentary, which was released in 2017, that alleged police collusion in the 1994 murder of six Catholic soccer fans by loyalist paramilitaries.

The pair claim they were subject to covert surveillance before and after the release of the film.

Photos You Should See – April 2024

They were arrested in 2018 over the alleged theft of material used in the documentary from Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman.

However, England’s Durham Constabulary – which carried out the investigation into the alleged theft for the PSNI – later dropped the case against the pair after they won a legal challenge over their arrests.

Birney and McCaffrey brought a separate case at London’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) in 2019.

McCaffrey’s lawyer Ben Jaffey told the IPT on Wednesday that recently-disclosed documents suggest the PSNI was in 2017 targeting unnamed journalists in Northern Ireland.

A minute of a 2017 meeting with Durham Constabulary recorded a PSNI detective sergeant saying he was “proactive in conducting what he described as “defensive operations” by cross referencing billing with police telephone numbers on a six-monthly basis”.

Jaffey said the targets appeared to be a group of “troublemaker journalists” in Northern Ireland who had written critical articles about the PSNI.

The full hearing of Birney and McCaffrey’s case is due to take place in October.

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters.

Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *