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No ‘Big Brother’ tactics with Duffy

A dissident republican accused of murdering two soldiers has accepted a revised assurance that covert surveillance will not be used against him.

Lawyers for Colin Duffy withdrew their legal challenge after declaring they were satisfied with a new form of words offered by the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Duffy (41) is charged with the killings of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar at an Army base in Antrim on March 7.

The soldiers were gunned down at the barracks gates as they collected pizzas from delivery men. Duffy from Lurgan, Co Armagh, is also being held on five counts of attempted murder and possession of arms and ammunition in connection with the Real IRA shootings.

He had delayed a High Court application for bail until he received confirmation that no one is listening in on any legal consultations while in custody.

An initial pledge given by the Prison Service was rejected because it stated that no surveillance will be authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. This was turned down on the basis that it was seen as a qualified guarantee.

But Duffy’s barrister Mark Mulholland told the High Court yesterday the issues were resolved.

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He said: “There is now an acceptable assurance which has been given by the respondent.” Mr Mulholland told a two-judge panel headed by Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr that his client would no longer be seeking a judicial review.

Duffy was also awarded legal costs for the case.

Sir Brian said: “The applicant has been successful in the application and, although in the circumstances the application must be dismissed since the issue is no longer live, he is clearly entitled to costs. We order the applicant’s costs be borne by the respondent.”

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