Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 14:36 UK

Duffy to contest 'prison bugging'

Colin Duffy at Larne Magistrates Court
Mr Duffy has delayed a bail application

A dissident republican accused of murdering two soldiers has been granted permission to try to find out if his conversations are being bugged.

Colin Duffy, 41, is seeking assurances the authorities will not bug his legal consultations while he is in custody.

He is charged with the double killing of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar in Antrim on 7 March.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr granted leave to apply for a judicial review in the case.

Mr Duffy is also charged with five counts of attempted murder and possession of arms and ammunition in connection with the Real IRA shootings.

His lawyers applied for leave to seek a judicial review based on the uncertainty surrounding any conversations he has had while being held.

His lawyer told a two-judge panel headed by Sir Brian it would be "completely unlawful" for any monitoring to be carried out.

He based his argument on a High Court ruling from November 2007 - and subsequently backed in the House of Lords - which held there was no system in place for the Prison Service to seek the necessary authorisation.

With Mr Duffy delaying an application for bail until he receives confirmation that no one is listening in, it was also claimed that his right to liberty was being compromised.

His lawyer said: "This particular issue relating to Mr Duffy was raised on March 30 when a letter was sent seeking an assurance.

"The Prison Service have had over four weeks to consider their response."

'Surveillance'

Should Mr Duffy win his judicial review case and be granted bail, he will be seeking damages for the loss of liberty caused by the delay, his lawyer confirmed.

A lawyer for the Prison Service told the court that it and other state authorities were in the process of deciding an approach to the earlier court rulings.

He revealed that a meeting was to be held later on Wednesday to map out a way forward in the cases of Mr Duffy and others.

The lawyer also emphasised that he had no instructions that covert surveillance was being used against Duffy.

A date for the full hearing will be decided later in the week.



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