Belfast Telegraph

Robber Brendan Conway tells Court of Appeal he was harassed by newspaper

A convicted robber suffered harassment from a newspaper reporting his alleged links to murder and dissident republican terrorism, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Counsel for Brendan Conway argued that a decision to deny him an injunction against the Sunday World should be overturned.

Although a verdict in the challenge was reserved, senior judges imposed an interim order preventing any further publication about one of the allegations against the north Belfast man.

Details cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

Conway, 39, launched court action after he featured in a series of articles.

They included claims that he is a Real IRA boss who headed up a tiger kidnapping gang, and that he was responsible for the murder of  drug dealer Kevin Kearney in the city last October.

Conway acknowledges he is a republican who took part in a protest against prison conditions endured by Lurgan man Colin Duffy and others.

But he denies all of the newspaper claims, contending that they have put his life in danger.

Police have issued threat warnings about a planned gun attack on him since the first of four articles was published last October.

Earlier this year a High Court judge rejected his bid for an interim injunction pending a planned libel case.

But appealing that decision today, his legal team renewed submissions that his rights to life and freedom from torture and inhuman treatment had been violated.

The Sunday World campaign also amounted to harassment and misuse of private information, it was contended.

The court heard Conway was arrested and questioned about the Kearney murder before being released without charge.

His barrister, Peter Girvan, said: "These articles... are making the clear allegation that he was responsible."

But Brett Lockhart QC, for the Sunday World, argued there is a public interest in reporting criminal activity.

Information about Conway was already available on a dissident republican web blog and can be instantly obtained through a quick Google search, he stressed.

Referring to his conviction and imprisonment for a robbery closely associated to a £250,000 tiger kidnapping plot, Mr Lockhart said:  "This man is not some ordinary Joe.

"He is someone who is notorious and someone who is well-known in the community."

 Following submissions Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justice Higgins, confirmed they would deliver a written verdict at a later stage.

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