Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ruling due on terror detentions

Colin Duffy
One of the six is prominent republican Colin Duffy

A ruling will be given on Wednesday morning over the issue of extending the detention period for six dissident republican suspects held by police.

Four are being questioned about the murder of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar and the others over Constable Stephen Carroll's murder.

They claim detaining them is unlawful and that a judge had failed to give reasons for holding them.

None of the six have been charged with any offence.

They include prominent republican Colin Duffy.

At the weekend a county court judge granted a police detention extension request brought under the 2006 Terrorism Act which allows police to hold suspects for up to 28 days before they must be formally charged or released.

Barry Macdonald QC, for the six applicants, claimed that the judge had failed to address and give reasons why she felt it was necessary to further detain the suspects.


Due to the urgency of the case a further claim that it breached their right to liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights was set aside to allow a full hearing to proceed.

However, a lawyer for the Crown, Paul Maguire QC, said the six had been detained in what was a very important investigation.

He said the stakes were very high and of the greatest possible significance to society as a whole.

Mr Maguire also disclosed details from an affidavit submitted by the detective superintendent heading the investigation into the murders of the soldiers.

The officer believed the forensic results would be available within the next seven days, with the outcome of the tests possibly leading to charges being brought or more interviews, the court heard.

Mr Maguire also defended the efforts of the judge who granted the extension, saying she had sat almost continuously for two days hearing the application.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr said the issues involved were extremely important and not without complexity and he would make a ruling on Wednesday morning.

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