Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Union flag protest woman always kept on the footpath, court told

A union flag protestor seeking to intervene in a High Court challenge to the demonstrations disputes that she has broken any laws, the High Court heard today.

The unnamed east Belfast woman claims she always kept on the footpath during walks into the city centre, a judge was told.

But a barrister for a nationalist man seeking to judicially review the PSNI and Secretary of State for allegedly allowing unauthorised parades past his home questioned why she wanted to become involved.

Karen Quinlivan QC said: "Our challenge is to the policing of unlawful conduct, not to lawful conduct."

Lawyers for the woman have been given a week to lodge an affidavit setting out her reasons for attempting to intervene in the case.

Proceedings were brought over the weekly protests which took place over the decision to limit the flying of the Union flag at City Hall.

Violence flared on a number of occasions as loyalists coming from east Belfast passed the nationalist Short Strand enclave en route to their destination.

According to the case being made out, legislation which requires the Parades Commission to be notified about processions has been repeatedly violated.

Now a unionist woman has applied for permission to become involved in the challenge in an attempt to have the unionist viewpoint represented.

But Ms Quinlivan took issue with a statement made on her behalf which claimed she stayed on the footpath, never marching on the road or obstructed traffic.

"All marchers are effectively corralled by police along the public highway," she said.

"There are differences in the submissions originally made and the submissions now being made."

Pointing out that her client had to provide details on why he should be granted anonymity, the barrister argued that the woman should have to do the same.

Ms Quinlivan added: "If she now contends she behaved lawfully I'm not sure what the purpose of her intervention is."

The judge, Mr Justice Treacy, told the woman's legal team until next Friday to provide the necessary information.

He is expected to rule on her application at that stage.

A full hearing of the judicial review challenge is due to take place in June.

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