Belfast Telegraph

Secrecy bid over Stakeknife case to be resisted

By Alan Erwin

A legal bid for secrecy around part of a High Court action against the alleged one-time top British agent inside the IRA is to be fiercely resisted.

Lawyers for the ex-wife of another informer confirmed plans to oppose the move by police and military in her lawsuit involving west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci.

With potentially major implications for other intelligence-related litigation, a senior judge yesterday listed the closed material procedures (CMPs) application for hearing early next year.

Another partially secret court hearing involving Martin McGartland, a former RUC agent who infiltrated the IRA, is due to take place later this week.

Proceedings have been issued by Margaret Keeley against the Chief Constable, Ministry of Defence and Scappaticci, the 68-year-old who denies allegations that he was the military spy inside the Provisionals codenamed Stakeknife.

The Newry woman's former husband is Peter Keeley, the ex-MI5 agent who also uses the pseudonym Kevin Fulton.

She alleges she was wrongfully arrested and falsely imprisoned during a three-day period at Castlereagh police station in 1994 following an IRA attempt to murder a senior detective in east Belfast.

Mrs Keeley was released without charge, but claims to have then been taken with Fulton to a flat in the New Lodge area of north Belfast and interrogated by an IRA security team.

Mr Scappaticci was one of the men who carried out two debriefing sessions, she has previously alleged in court.

But the MoD and PSNI are now seeking CMPs which would deny Mrs Keeley's lawyers access to material in the case.

Mrs Keeley's legal team claim it is a draconian step using legislation brought in more to deal with the al-Qaida threat rather than the legacy of the Irish conflict.

Mrs Keeley's solicitor, Kevin Winters of KRW Law, said: "If this is allowed my client will not get a fair hearing because such an application offends the principle of open justice."

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