Hooded Men lawyers to head back to court

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Lawyers representing the Hooded Men have requested an urgent court date to secure documents the Secretary of State for NI has failed to hand over.

Case Coordinator for the Hooded Men, Jim McIlmurray said the legal team have been increasingly frustrated at the disclosure of files by Teresa Villiers.

He slammed the Secretary of State for the substantial redaction of files that have been handed over.

“We have a number of government files relating to the case, but a large quantity of pages had been removed from these files under what the government deemed ‘Sensitive’ and making reference to ‘National Security’,” Mr McIlmurray said.

“An example of this, imagine you were reading a file and pages 11 to 27 were missing. This is the trend with more or less every file. When you have 56,000 pages to go through, you can imagine how frustrating this can be.”

He said that despite the judge ordering the Secretary of State to hand over the files by March 24, much of the documentation has been redacted.

“Ms Villiers stated on television that she had fully complied with the request and all the material has now been handed over. This in fact is not the case. Theresa Villiers has withheld information on briefings given to government ministers before the men were interrogated. For example, we have files on governmental meetings that took place, but the minutes of these meetings have been removed, so this isn’t full compliance.

“We went back to court in April and a lawyer representing the government said it believed it has disclosed all relevant documents. A judge gave them two weeks to comply. That was a month ago,” said Mr McIlmurray who added the legal team has requested an urgent High Court date on the matter.

He added: “The material we have obtained so far including Theresa Villiers affidavit makes very interesting reading. Very interesting.

“On a more positive note, the European Courts have recently contacted the Irish government regarding the case and the British government has been given until the 12th of May to enter their submission, we are currently working on our own application. Things are finally on the move,” he concluded.