Today in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) , the police failed in their attempt to close down Kate Wilson’s  human rights claim  about secret political policing and her relationship with the undercover officer, Mark Kennedy.
This was the police’s fourth failed application to limit the extent of the IPT investigation. After seven years of litigation, they still haven’t answered the detailed claims made.
A woman deceived into a relationship with undercover officer is fighting in court this Friday  to have her claim about human rights abuses to be allowed to continue, and be held in the open.
Ms Wilson’s claim , being heard in the Investigatory Power’s Tribunal (IPT), states that that the police violated her Human Rights under Articles 3, 8, 10, 11 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) 
Ms Wilson was deceived into a long-term, intimate relationship with an undercover police officer, Mark Kennedy (MK).
If successful, this case will finally give clarity whether sexual relationships between undercover officers and members of the public are unlawful.
In 2017, Kate Wilson  became one of eight women who have won an historic apology  from the Metropolitan Police over their relationships with undercover police. She is now taking the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers to Court over human rights abuses she was subjected to by undercover officers. Ms Wilson’s claim questions the legitimacy of such political policing in a democratic society , and the legality of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that is used to authorise such operations .
Ms Wilson said; “Article 3 of The ECHR refers to the right to live without being tortured or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatments. The Metropolitan police, themselves told me in a public apology that what happened to me was abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong and a gross violation of personal dignity and integrity and that it caused significant trauma. Yet no clear, legally binding limits have been imposed on the kind of relationships officers form while undercover. We need clarity to protect the public from anything like this ever happening again.”
Despite having withdrawn their defence in Ms. Wilson’s Civil Claim , paying substantial compensation and issuing a personal apology  to Ms. Wilson acknowledging that these relationships were a violation of her human rights, the police have also stated that they intend to contest this claim, and are applying for it to be struck out.
This is the first ever human rights case to be heard by the IPT relating to undercover relationships. It comes after almost six years of stays, obstructions and delaying tactics by police in the Royal Courts of Justice, where this claim originated, and they are now asking the IPT to consider throwing out the claim because, they argue, it is “out of time”. This is yet another example of the police’s delaying and blocking tactics in legal actions looking for accountability and disclosure around undercover policing, and must not be tolerated by the Judge.
They continue to seek secrecy around undercover policing, and will apply for the case to be held behind closed doors, contesting Ms Wilson’s right to attend hearings, get disclosure, or respond to any evidence they present. The IPT is able to hear cases such as this in complete secrecy, with the claimant having no opportunity to argue their case in court, contest evidence against them, or receive a reasoned judgement .
In the light of all the information about these officers already in the public domain, and the ongoing Public Inquiry into the events in question, the claimant is urging the IPT to hold an open hearing this time .
Key background information
1] This is the first hearing of the case. It will be held at Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) located in Fleetbank House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX. The hearing will start at 10.30am, 23rd June 2017, in court 5.
Such inhuman and degrading treatment of women in order to obtain intelligence forms part of a culture of institutional sexism within the Metropolitan Police, violating the principle that human rights should be enjoyed by all, without discrimination on grounds of sex or political beliefs (Art.14 ECHR).
Furthermore, in addition to MK’s gross violation of her intimate private life and bodily integrity, at least 5 other officers have been identified as having intruded in Ms Wilson’s private and family life (Art.8 ECHR). Over more than ten years, at least 6 officers played false roles in her life, ranging from lover to close friend, housemate and co-activist . These infiltrations took place because of her involvement in protest groups, infringing her rights to freedom of expression and association (Art.10&11 ECHR).
6] The targeting of environmental and social justice groups such as Reclaim the Streets, and campaigns against Immigration Detention reflects an extremely worrying assumption on the part of Metropolitan Police that it is “proportionate and necessary” to target people for their political beliefs and involvement in political campaigns in the UK and abroad. The SDS was established in 1968 to “deal with the lack of police knowledge of what was happening on demonstrations”. It was shut down in October 2006 as part of a restructuring of the Met, though continued to exist until October 2008. Since it has been closed down, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, an agency that monitors so-called domestic extremists performs a similar role in the UK today. http://powerbase.info/index.php/Special_Demonstration_Squad, http://powerbase.info/index.php/National_Public_Order_Intelligence_Unit
7] Neither RIPA nor the Codes of Practice mention sexual conduct by undercover officers, and the existing legal frame work has neither sufficient clarity nor sufficient safeguards for RIPA authorisations to be “in accordance with the law”. This is consistent with findings of the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Royal Court of Justice. The Home Affairs Select Committee stated that “there is an alarming degree of inconsistency in the views of Ministers and senior police officers about the limits of what may and may not be lawfully authorised.” and “the current legal framework is ambiguous to such an extent that it fails adequately to safeguard the fundamental rights of the individuals affected.” (https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/837/130205i.htm). Judge Tugendhat said in a ruling in the Civil Court that “There is no doubt that, in enacting RIPA, Parliament intended to override fundamental human rights” http://www.statewatch.org/news/2013/nov/uk-police-spies-out-of-lives-secret-hearing-case-decision.pdf
8] The IPT oversees human rights claims about the states infringement of privacy through covert surveillance. Although it claims independence, the IPT operates from within the Home Office https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/05/independence-ipt-court-mi5-mi6-home-office-secrecy-clegg-miliband, and it has only upheld a handful of claims (probably less than 0.01%) in it’s history. Most of the hearings are held in secret: applicants are given no right to be present at the hearing; no right to the disclosure of evidence relied on by the opposing party; no right to cross-examine opposing witnesses; no right to funded representation or costs; no right to a reasoned judgment and no right of appeal. In short, it is a fitting judicial instrument for a process intended to override fundamental human rights. Recently, the IPT has been criticised for being secretive so there have been moves for more cases to be held in the open.
When? 10 am Friday 23rd June (the hearing will start at 10.30am in court 5) Where? Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) located in Fleetbank House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX What about? Showing public support for a woman’s fight to outlaw the abusive and chilling practice of undercover cops deceiving women into intimate relationships Who should come? Anyone who cares about or right to participate in social justice campaigning without fear of abuse at the hands of the state
Kate Wilson is one of the women, whose stories of their abusive relationships with undercover police, have shocked the nation. She is taking what might be a unique case against the Metropolitan Police concerning the abuse of her human rights when she was deceived into a long term intimate relationship with Mark Kennedy, an undercover officer infiltrating social and environmental justice groups. It is being held at the Investigatory Powers tribunal, the secretive court that oversees complaints about the states covert intrusion into our lives.
There is a demo called before a case hearing, where the police are applying to have the whole case heard in secret, meaning Kate or her solicitors would not be able to attend the hearings, argue her case in court, hear or contest any of the police’s evidence, or even hear a reasoned judgement at its conclusion.
It is essential that such appalling abuse of Kate’s and other women’s human rights is challenged, and that this is done in the open, so the truth about what happened can come out, and the public can be reassured that it is being dealt with properly and accountably. Relationships are one of the most profoundly disturbing tools of social control so far unearthed as part of the decades-long activity of undercover units. It is essential that people are able to participate in social and environmental justice campaigning without fear of such abuse.
This case is the first time the Police have had to answer human rights claims about their undercover officers’ deception of women into intimate relationships. Kate is in an almost unique position to be able to do this, and it is possibly our best opportunity yet to force changes in the laws that oversee undercover policing.
Public outrage at the treatment of women at the hands of the police has meant that they have not been able to sweep these cases under the carpet, and it is essential that we continue to show our support for and solidarity with these brave women holding the state to account.
Come to the demo to show your support! Come into the court hearing itself at 11am, and show the Judge the level of public interest.
If you can’t make it, then make noise on social media – talk about it to your friends, or write to your MP. We must keep up the public pressure and hold the state to account.
Full investigation needed on undercover policing in Ireland
Today, four women deceived into relationships with undercover police in the UK [1,2] have written to the Irish Prime minister, Minister for Justice and Equality, and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade.
Their letters  ask why they were targeted in Ireland for abusive relationships by UK undercover officers, and demand a full Inquiry into the activity of UK undercover officers in Ireland.
These letters are in response to the secret “report” prepared by the An Garda Síochána in 2011  attempting to justify the activities of undercover police officers from the UK in Ireland.
They highlight the fact that the relationships they had with these officers, which took place in part on Irish soil, have been admitted to be human rights violations . This means the report’s claims that police activities in Ireland were limited to tracking “external activists with a track record for violence” are false.
These officers activities in the Republic of Ireland will not be investigated as part of the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing , and so far, the response of the Justice Minister and Garda has been to conduct secret, internal reviews into these revelations and to deny their grave importance . The women are demanding a full and public investigation into the activities of these officers, detailing any offenses they committed in Ireland. They also specifically ask:
Who authorised these undercover operations in Ireland?
Do Irish police hold files on us, and when will we be given access to those files?
How does the Irish state justify foreign police officers having deceptive intimate relationships with women, in violation of our human rights and bodily integrity?
How many more UK police officers operated in Ireland and how many more women were abused by the police on Irish soil?
Kate Wilson travelled to Dublin with her partner, Mark “Stone” (Kennedy) in May 2004 said “The MPS apologised for the violation of my human rights in the UK, but those rights were also violated in Ireland. Someone authorised Mark to take me to Ireland with him, and engage in an abusive sexual relationship on Irish soil. We are asking for answers, and the Irish government is responding with denials and secret reports. That should be of great concern to anyone who wants to believe in accountability and human rights in Ireland”
Mark Kennedy also met up with “Lisa” as she travelled back from protests in Rossport against the Corrib gas pipeline. Lisa was deceived by the police into an abusive relationship with him that lasted six years before she exposed his real identity in 2010. She said “The UK undercover officers crossed borders regularly, and seemingly without oversight. Their operations extended far outside the remit of the current investigations. Was he authorised to continue our relationship in Ireland? Was he being paid? Did the Irish authorities know?”
“Alison” was in a five year relationship with Jenner who she knew as Mark Cassidy. She said “When it was suggested that the Colin Roach Centre send a delegation to the West Belfast Festival in the Summer of 1995, Jenner was keen to offer his van to drive people there. The journey included a stop-over in the Republic of Ireland. Were the authorities there informed that a Special Branch agent was operating in their territory? And if not, why not?”
2] These women all made legal claims against the Metropolitan Police arising from their deception into long-term intimate relationships with police officers who had infiltrated social and environmental justice campaigns. These were both human rights claims and common law claims, including deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence.
8] These women aim to highlight and prevent the continuation of psychological, emotional and sexual abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers. ‘We come from different backgrounds and have a range of political beliefs and interests, and we are united in believing that every woman, and every person, has a right to participate in the struggle for social and environmental justice, without fear of persecution, objectification, or interference in their lives.’ – from ‘Where we stand’ Statement.
Centre for Women’s Justice: South-West of England launch event University of West of England Bristol 20 April 2017: 9.45 – 5.30
This week Lisa will be talking publicly about being deceived into an intimate relationship by an undercover cop, and her fightback for truth and accountability from the police.
Her talk will be part of the Centre for Women’s Justice South-West of England launch event. The Centre for Women’s Justice is a new Charity which aims to advance the human rights of women and girls in England and Wales by:
(1) Holding the state to account for failures to prevent violence against women and girls
(2) Challenging discrimination against women and girls in the criminal justice system
This event will bring together survivors, activists, women’s sector groups, academics and others concerned with violence against women and girls to explore with lawyers how to hold the state to account and challenge discrimination within the criminal justice system.
Lisa is one of eight women who were deceived by undercover police officers in intimate relationships. They worked as a collective to battle against police obstruction tactics achieve a historic victory and public apology from the Metropolitan police
Lisa will talk as part of the programme called: “Up against it: Survivors and activists and their legal cases” which will be chaired by Harriet Wistrich, Lisa’s lawyer in her battles against the police, and the founder of the Centre for Women’s Justice.