Belfast Telegraph

Murder suspect’s wife in legal bid over house search

The wife of one of the men being held in connection with the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr has launched a legal challenge over being denied access to her home.

Sarah McKiernan has been granted leave to seek a judicial review of the prohibition imposed during police searches of her house in Omagh.

Her husband Sean McKiernan is one of three men being questioned about the fatal car bomb attack on Constable Kerr (below) outside his home in the town on April 2.

The mother-of-three is seeking a High Court declaration that the PSNI acted unlawfully during searches of her home which began a day after the killing.

She alleges her right to respect for privacy and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights was violated.

Even though police have now allowed Mrs McKiernan back into the property at Shergrim Glen, she is pressing on with her case on points of legal and public interest.

After clearing the first hurdle, a full hearing of the issues has now been listed for later this year.

Sean McKiernan (40) was detained near Omagh last Thursday but has not yet been charged with any offences.

His wife's lawyers have argued that the PSNI acted outside the authority of a warrant granted to search the home for any forensic trace evidence.

They alleged officers carried out the necessary tests but then continued to occupy the premises and refused to allow Mrs McKiernan and her children to return for a number of days.

In an affidavit to support her case, she claimed the search began at around 6am on Sunday April 3.

Mrs McKiernan stated that later the same day her family was removed from the home after being given a plastic bag and allowed to take a few items of clothing.

According to the legal papers, she was told the search would be finished by last Wednesday, with swab tests to find any forensic trace evidence.

Mrs McKiernan claimed, however, that she was then informed no return to the home would be allowed until the test results were known.

The court heard yesterday that the family were permitted back into the house over the weekend.

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