Belfast Telegraph

PSNI wrongfully imprisoned 14-year-old boy, High Court rules

A schoolboy was unlawfully taken out of a juvenile centre and detained by police for questioning, the High Court has ruled.

Senior judges held that the 14-year-old is now entitled to claim damages against the PSNI for wrongful imprisonment.

The boy had been remanded in custody at Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre (JJC) last November when officers took him to Bangor police station to be interviewed about separate offences.

He was returned later the same day.

Police later accepted that it had no power for his removal under the 1953 Prison Act it had used.

Judicial review proceedings were issued on behalf of the boy by his father.

He challenged both the PSNI's decision to take his son out and the centre's decision to release him.

It was set out during the hearing that the Juvenile Justice Centre Rules (Northern Ireland) 2008 allows a police officer to interview any child on production of an order issued by the Chief Constable.

But Lord Justice Girvan pointed out that no such production order was made or sought.

"The applicant is this entitled to a declaration that the decision of the JJC to allow the PSNI to remove the applicant from the lawful custody of the JJC and convey him to Bangor police station was unlawful," he said.

"His detention by the police was accordingly also unlawful."

The judge, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Mr Justice Gillen, added: "The applicant is free to bring such civil proceedings to claim damages for wrongful imprisonment by the PSNI as he is advised."

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