Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 15:59 UK

Court challenge to PSNI taser use

Tasers have been used once by the PSNI

Lawyers acting for an unidentified Belfast child have won the right to challenge Sir Hugh Orde's decision to deploy tasers in Northern Ireland.

The police bought 12 of the stun guns in January for use in a pilot scheme - and one was used for the first time in Londonderry last month.

At the High Court in Belfast on Friday, the lawyers were granted leave for a judicial review of the decision to use them.

The case will be heard in January.

Lawyers for the applicant claim there was a failure to carry out a proper equality impact assessment before tasers were brought in.

They also alleged the introduction breached the right to life and right to freedom from torture under the Human Rights Act.

Henry Blaxland, QC, told the High Court the use of Tasers was a matter of real public concern

However, David McMillen, representing the chief constable, told the court that the weapons purchased were part of a pilot project and only issued to specially-trained officers who can use them in limited circumstances.

He said extensive studies had been carried out into the weapon's use.

"We have looked at the experience of other police forces and used their experience. Indeed the Police Service of Northern Ireland appear to lead the way in terms of worldwide research," he said.

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