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No Stone Unturned journalists face second day of judicial review

29 May 2019

NUJ members, human rights campaigners, politicians and the Loughinisland families attended the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast on Tuesday morning to show support and solidarity with investigative journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey.

Gerry Carson, chair of the NUJ’s Irish executive council, said:

"In three weeks time we will be commemorating the 25th anniversary of those killed and injured in the Loughinisland tragedy. And sadly today, instead of concentrating on finding the killers, the PSNI are continuing their arrest and interrogation of two journalists - simply for doing their job in highlighting the failure of those in authority, to bring an end to the anguish being experienced by those families who suffered at the hands of the killers." 

The judicial review is focused on the legitimacy of the search warrants used by police to carry out the raids, both the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Durham Constabulary are involved in the ongoing criminal investigation.

The award-winning documentary, No Stone Unturned, tells the story of the victims and their families. It also examines the police investigation into the murders - for which no one has yet been charged. The film names the murder suspects and highlights allegations of collusion between the police and the gunmen.

When Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey were arrested, they were questioned for 14 hours and their homes and office were raided by the police. The journalists have now been on pre-charge bail for nine months and they will report back to the PSNI in September 2019 (by which time they will have been on bail for more than a year). During their time on bail, if either journalist wants to leave Northern Ireland (e.g. to work or to visit family) they must give three days advanced notice to the police.

On 7 September 2018 the journalists’ legal representatives lodged a legal challenge and on 4 February 2019 won permission to challenge the legality of the search warrants and were granted leave to seek a judicial review.

The judicial review started on Tuesday 28 May 2019 at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast and continues today.

Media coverage of the judicial review -

‘Warped mindset’ behind arrests of Loughinisland journalists, court hears - The Irish Times

David Davis backs Loughinisland journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey - The Irish News

Raids on Loughinisland journalists akin to ‘police state’ operation - The Irish Times

Treatment of Northern Irish journalists likened to police state, court hears - The Guardian

High Court begins to hear judicial review brought by journalists against police raids - Irish Legal News

Loughinisland: Raids on offices 'like a police state' - BBC News

'Press freedom is the most fundamental freedom', says MP as he backs arrested journalists - The Impartial Reporter

Why The Case Of Journalists Trevor Birney And Barry McCaffrey Should Concern Us All - Huffington Post

Bid to silence evidence in press freedom case - The Times

Judicial review begins into police raids on homes of Belfast investigative journalists - Press Gazette

Belfast journalists in judicial review over police raids - Belfast Telegraph

More background information about the campaign: No Stone Unturned, journalism in the public interest

Access the archive of NUJ news about the campaign

Tags: , no stone unturned, belfast, courts, judicial review, public interest, public interest journalism, legal action, legal challenge, legal support