Independent Media Centre Ireland

Stop and search powers illegal according to the European court

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Tuesday January 12, 2010 17:53author by Campaigner

Spotted this on the eirigi website and it could have some possible and very welcome repercussions right across Ireland.

The European court has ruled that stop and search powers which the British government has given to various police forces by virtue of Sections 44&45 of the Terrorism Act 2000 are illegal. The Strasbourg court had been hearing a case involving two people stopped near an arms fair in London in 2003. The European Court of Human Rights said the pair's rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated.

The court said the stop and search powers were "not sufficiently circumscribed" and there were not "adequate legal safeguards against abuse".

Obviously, in the North where there has been concern about the rise in the use of stop and search powers, the PSNI will have to re-assess their use.

However, I think that the case could also impact upon the Gardaí and the way they have policed and harassed many on their way to various protests and demo's such as at Rossport, Tara, etc.

Perhaps, a few test cases are needed now on the back of this ruling.

This other article about the ruling is from the Guardian this afternoon and contains a link to the full judgment at the bottom

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Comments (4 of 4)

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author by Gearoid O Loingsighpublication date Tue Jan 12, 2010 23:35author address author phone

What about section 30 of the offences against the state act?

author by Campaignerpublication date Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:12author address author phone

Its interesting that Liberty, the main human rights organisation in Britain, helped in bringing this case through the various stages. Perhaps, the ICCL which also has a similar remit should consider doing likewise, including in relation to any abuse of Section 30 of the OSA.

author by Malachy Steensonpublication date Thu May 12, 2011 15:57author address author phone

Section 30 searches require the Garda's suspision that you have committed a scheduled offence

Likewise drug searches require reasonable suspision that you are in possession of drugs. For a drug search you can refuse to be searched in the street and demand to be taken into a Garda Station.

There is no general stop and search powers in this State nor is there any power where the state can compel you to them where you are going, there is no requirement to account for you future movements.

Likewise the knocking on doors on the routes and demanding information and access to buildings are not backed up by any legal requirement, people should refuse to answer any questions in these circumstances.

The silence on all of these matters is deafening and if they get away with it on this occasion it will be used in the coming months years as this society further breaks now.

The Police state is well and truely here.

author by nbpublication date Thu May 12, 2011 16:07author address author phone

it is also insanity that the left ignores the use of section 12 of the mental health act to arrest anyone who 'looks funny'

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