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Stop and search Derry man's human rights breached, court told

A Londonderry man stopped and searched dozens of times under anti-terrorism legislation suffered human rights breaches, the High Court has heard.

Lawyers for Steven Ramsey claimed the police practice interfered with his rights to privacy and liberty under European Law.

Mr Ramsey, from the Creggan area of the city, is seeking a judicial review of powers used to repeatedly detain him. He says that since 2008 he has been stopped nearly 100 times under the Justice and Security (NI) Act 2007.

But his legal challenge is focused on incidents alleged to have occurred since a code of practice was introduced in May last year.

Counsel for Mr Ramsey contended that police have continued to breach their powers since then.

No dispute was raised to his denials of involvement in any illegal organisation or political party, and lack of convictions for paramilitary activity, it was pointed out.

He has not been arrested as a result of any of the stops.

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In written legal arguments, Karen Quinlivan QC claimed the procedure was incompatible with the Article 8 right to privacy and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

"In this case the applicant has been stopped on numerous occasions in public by police officers and obliged to submit to a search of both his person and the vehicle in which he was travelling," she contended.

Ms Quinlivan argued that the power used in her client's case could not be said to be necessary in a democratic society.

She also claimed police actions breached his Article 5 rights to liberty.

The legal challenge is relying on a ruling that similar operations which targeted an ex-IRA hunger striker and a brother-in-law of Martin McGuinness were unlawful.

The case continues.

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