A dissident republican jailed for the murder of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll has won High Court permission to challenge an alleged denial of access to online resources for his degree studies.
Brendan McConville claims the Prison Service failed to ensure he can safely use computer facilities to complete an Open University course in criminology and psychology.
The 48-year-old was granted leave to seek a judicial review after a judge ruled he has established an arguable case.
Lord Justice McCloskey indicated a full hearing should now take place before the end of the year.
McConville, from Craigavon, Co Armagh, is serving at least 25 years behind bars for the murder of Constable Carroll 10 years ago.
A second man, 28-year-old John Paul Wootton, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was handed a minimum 18-year term for his part in the assassination.
Constable Carroll, 48, was the first police officer to be killed in Northern Ireland after the formation of the PSNI.
He was ambushed and shot dead by dissident republicans as he responded to a 999 call at Lismore Manor, Craigavon in March 2009.
A circumstantial case involving DNA evidence helped to secure the murder convictions, including gun residue on a coat linked to McConville recovered from a car said to have been used by the killers.
He is among 40 republican and loyalist inmates held within a separated regime at the high security HMP Maghaberry.
The court heard he is in the final stages of a Bachelor of Science honours degree in criminology and psychology studies.
Proceedings were brought against the Prison Service for an alleged failure to provide access to the necessary internet resources.
Counsel for McConville said his client was in segregation at Maghaberry for safety reasons.
He argued that it was irrational for the authorities to say the convicted killer can use the facilities by simply leaving the separate regime.
According to McConville’s legal team it amounted to a difference in treatment.
Lawyers representing the Prison Service rejected assertions that he was never offered use of the education suite, stressing it is located in a special unit open to all within the jail.
The challenge had been deferred to allow time to consider a report into learning opportunities for separated inmates and a potential complaint to the Prisoner Ombudsman.
But in court today Lord Justice McCloskey confirmed he was granting leave to apply for judicial review.
Following the ruling McConville’s solicitor, Gavin Booth of Phoenix Law, said: “My client is challenging the refusal to allow him access to the computer suite for the purposes of degree work, which requires online material.
“Hopefully this will give all prisoners the same rights, entitlements an access to education provisions.”
With many thanks to the: Belfast News Letter for the original story
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A Co Down man charged in connection with a brutal sectarian assault on a Catholic man in Kilkeel following a night out has been released on bail.
Gary Chambers (34), was charged with four offences arising from an attack on well-known contractor Paschal Morgan (pictured below with his partner) on July 14th this year. Mr Chambers from Sabbath Hill, Ballymartin, appeared at Newry Magistrates Court yesterday charged with inflicting GBH (grievous bodily harm) with intent, robbery, using disorderly behaviour in the Kilmorey Arms Hotel in Kilkeel and attempting to cause criminal damage to gates and doors of the hotel.
None of the facts surrounding the charges were opened in court yesterday but it was reported at the time that Mr Morgan (48), a father -of- two, was attacked on the Greencastle Road as he walked home from the hotel.
He was left with brusing to the front of his brain, shattered eye sockets and cheekbones and a suspected broken Jaw. Mr Chambers was released yesterday subject to a series of bail conditions. He is due back to court on November 27th. In court yesterday Darren Duncan, defending, told District Judge Eamonn King he was consenting to the prosecution seeking a six-week adjournment.
Freeing Mr Chambers on his own bail of £250, Judge King told the defendant it was important that he understood the “whole pile” of bail conditions as any breach “could result in you being held in custody until the matter is delt with”. Due back to court on November 27th Mr Chambers must reside at his home address, observe a curfew, not to consume or have alcohol or be on licenced premises, is barred from contacting his alleged victim or any witnesses and is prohibited from entering Kilkeel, save for a few hours on a Sunday when he can visit his grandparents but he must be accompanied by his mother “at all times”.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story
Follow this link to find out more about Gary Chambers:https://instagram.com/garyc751?igshid=1cu2visvoul7s
There has been widespread condemnation of a photo believed to be of the INLA circulating on social media.
The PSNI made two arrests shortly after the photo was circulated on various platforms this week.
The photo shows five INLA members wearing balaclavas, four of whom are carrying weapons. It’s believed to have been taken in Londonderry.
DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst called for a crackdown on the group ‘before they become more dangerous’.
Cllr Dale Pankhurst
A photo from the 1980s? Unfortunately not. This photo was taken last night. @JulianSmithUK must move quickly and remove the INLA’s ceasefire status. They must be cracked down on before becoming even more dangerous.
Police have blamed the group for an increase in paramilitary attacks in the north west of Northern Ireland.
A 19-year-old Strabane man arrested by detectives investigating criminality linked to the INLA was released on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a 57-year-old-man arrested in Londonderry as part of the same investigation remains in custody.
Mobile phones, documentation and other electronic devices were also seized by police during three searches.
Part of the operation was linked to an investigation into shots being fired following the death of former INLA prisoner Michael McElkerney in May this year.
“Part of [the] operation also relates to an investigation into an incident on May 20 this year in the Divis area of Belfast, when an individual recklessly used an automatic weapon to fire a series of shots into the air in a heavily populated area,” said Detective Inspector Tom McClure.
“The group are a priority for due to the level of threat, risk and harm they pose to our communities and the breadth and depth of their criminality,” he said.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story
Anthony_Belfast and Aine Seanlaoich ☘ liked
The DUP may be holding out to make a better deal. But that better deal is one that saves face for the DUP, it’s not a deal that is in the interest of business and agriculture in the north.
7:22 AM · Oct 17, 2019·Twitter for iPhone
Clifford McCall 🇪🇺🏴🇮🇪
I totally agree with you one thing for certain the DUP will be remembered by history as the party that was for the union and then was the reason for the break up of the union
Well said, the DUP are actively against giving NI a competitive advantage within the UK.
Mr C Gervin
Nail head. The DUP dont care about us, they dont care about the assembly. They’re the worst sort of bluffers.
Show more replies
🇪🇺🤝🇬🇧 Where there is a will, there is a #deal – we have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that #EUCO endorses this deal.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said it is sticking to its position that it cannot support Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan, in spite of a deal being struck between the UK and the EU.
The deal was agreed on Thursday before a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.
Earlier, the DUP said it “could not support” the prime minister’s revised Brexit plan for Northern Ireland.
Its support is seen as crucial if the deal is to win approval in Parliament in time for his 31 October deadline.
Live: Brexit latest as PM heads to EU summit
New Brexit deal agreed, says Boris Johnson
In full: The revised withdrawal agreement text
Consent issue at heart of DUP’s concern
But a few hours later the prime minister tweeted: “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control.”
‘Consent is the cornerstone’
The UK and the EU have been working on the legal text of a deal but it will still need the approval of both the UK and European parliaments.
Speaking in Brussels, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier described the consent proposal in the agreement as “a cornerstone of our newly agreed approach”.
“Four years after entry into force of the protocol, the elected representatives of Northern Ireland will be able to decide by simple majority whether to continue applying relevant union rules in Northern Ireland or not,” he said.
The prime minister will join European leaders in Brussels later for a crunch EU summit as efforts continue to win support for his Brexit deal from MPs at home.
No 10 said there were no plans for the prime minister to meet the DUP on Thursday.
It looks like the party’s 10 MPs will vote against the proposed deal if it comes to the Commons on Saturday, which could make the Westminster arithmetic.
‘Disaster for Northern Ireland’
Speaking in Londonderry, the Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said “we’ve abandoned nobody” when asked if his government had decided not to rely on the DUP’s votes.
“I want to make the case for every MP to get this deal over the line on Saturday to make sure we bring this chapter of Brexit to a close,” he told BBC News NI.
Sinn Féin’s vice-president Michelle O’Neill tweeted that a veto on the Northern Ireland plans must not be included as part of a Brexit deal.
Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken said Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal keeps Northern Ireland in the EU “to all intents and purposes”.
He told the BBC’s The Nolan Show: “If you were a leave voter in Northern Ireland you’d be asking yourself: ‘Is this what I voted for?’
“This has been a disaster for Northern Ireland – the only way we can get out of it is to stay [in the EU].”
Mr Aiken is the only contender for the soon-to-be-vacant leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).
Alliance Party leader and MEP Naomi Long said she wanted the prime minister to put the deal to the public in a referendum.
“What we need to do is get this right, not just get it done,” she said.
“If the DUP are not willing to provide the arithmetic to get a deal through Parliament then I think Boris Johnson would be right to go to the public.”
The Stormont role would not be the unionists’ veto demanded by the DUP – instead the arrangements could be approved by a straight majority.
Pro-EU parties have a narrow majority at Stormont.
The Brexit deal would involve Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK.
It would continue to follow EU rules on food safety and product standards.
The DUP has already accepted that Northern Ireland would have to align with some EU rules to avoid a hard border.
Northern Ireland would also leave the EU customs union.
But EU customs procedures would still apply on goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain in order to avoid checks at the border.
Stormont would have to approve those arrangements on an ongoing basis.
Approval would involve a straightforward majority, which would keep the special arrangements in place for four years.
Alternatively, if the arrangements are approved by a majority of nationalists and a majority unionists they would remain in place for eight years – that would incentivise a cross-community consensus.
If the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to end the arrangements there would be a two-year notice period, during which the UK and the EU would have to agree ways to protect the peace process and avoid a hard border.
There is no fallback position in case the two sides cannot find a solution.
If a vote was not held – by choice or because the assembly was not sitting – then there would be no change and the special arrangements would continue.
The EU believes that replaces the backstop – which would have lasted “unless and until” an alternative was found – with arrangements that are sustainable over time and are democratically supported, as requested by the UK.
With many thanks to: BBC News England for the original story