Belfast Telegraph

Campaigner wants Pitchford Inquiry extended to Northern Ireland

A campaigner who says he was a victim of abuses by undercover police has launched a legal challenge to force a public inquiry to be extended to Northern Ireland.

One of the former Met officers at the centre of the controversy is alleged to have operated in Northern Ireland.

An anti-globalisation activist who said he was targeted is taking action at Belfast's High Court and said it was illogical to argue that the Pitchford Inquiry was required in London but not in Belfast.

Home Secretary Theresa May launched the inquiry after a string of scandals involving undercover officers and women tricked into relationships. It could now be delayed by judicial review proceedings in Belfast.

The allegations relate to officers in the Metropolitan Police's special demonstration squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. Both units have since been closed down.

Officers infiltrated alternative political movements like environmental demonstrators. There have been claims that murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence's family had been monitored by police.

Jason Kirkpatrick is an anti-globalisation campaigner who alleges he was targeted by former undercover officer Mark Kennedy when they worked at events.

He said: "With the submission of this legal action, I'm hoping to move one step further towards finding out why I was targeted in Belfast by one of the most elite undercover officers of the British state.

"I'm extremely angry that so far all of my attempts to receive justice here have been stonewalled.

"It makes no sense that my being targeted in England by secret police is to be fully examined in the Inquiry, but information about my being targeted by the same known officer in Belfast is to be kept completely secret."

His solicitor Darragh Mackin confirmed legal papers had been filed with the court in Belfast.

"It is our client's case that in light of this evidence, that the Pitchford Inquiry should be extended so that it may, in essence, follow the 'evidential trial'.

"It is illogical to assert that an investigation is required in London, but not in this jurisdiction.

"Given the relevance of undercover material to ongoing investigations, and legacy investigations, it is in fact arguable that there is a greater need to ensure full transparency and accountability in this jurisdiction."

Calls for the Pitchford Inquiry to also operate in Scotland have won cross-party support at Holyrood.


From Belfast Telegraph