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Court rules in favour of images

Published 01/07/2015

The Supreme Court ruled on the case
The Supreme Court ruled on the case

Police are entitled to publish CCTV images of youngsters suspected of being involved in rioting or causing criminal damage, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Five Supreme Court justices today dismissed a human rights complaint from a teenager whose photograph was published in newspapers after he was caught on camera during sectarian rioting in Londonderry.

The teenager - now 18 and 14 when involved in rioting - complained that publication of his photograph had stigmatised him and breached his right to respect for private life.

Justices agreed that his right to respect for private life had been interfered with - but they said the interference was justified because it was necessary for the administration of justice and not excessive.

The teenager had asked the UK's highest court to consider the issue after the Northern Ireland High Court ruled that police had not interfered with his right to private life.

Supreme Court justices, who said the teenager could not be identified in media reports, unanimously dismissed his appeal.

"Plainly, some means of identifying those involved in the rioting had to be found," said one Supreme Court justice, Lord Kerr.

"Sectarian violence at interfaces in Derry could not be allowed to continue.

"This not only put at risk vulnerable and elderly people living in the area, as well as the young people involved in the violence themselves, it was corrosive of the good community relations in Derry which so many agencies are trying to promote.

"I am satisfied that publication of the photographs was, in this instance, truly a measure of last resort."

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