Police seek to avoid accountability in Human Rights case over abusive relationships by undercover officers

  • A woman deceived into a relationship with undercover officer is fighting in court this Friday [1] to have her claim about human rights abuses to be allowed to continue, and be held in the open.
  • Ms Wilson’s claim [2], 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) [3]
  • 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 [4] became one of eight women who have won an historic apology [5] 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 [6], and the legality of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that is used to authorise such operations [7].

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Despite having withdrawn their defence in Ms.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 [8], paying substantial compensation and issuing a personal apology [4] 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 [9].

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 [10].

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.

2] https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/human-rights-case/human-rights-pleadings/

3] The Human Rights Claims
The most significant claim refers to the right to live without being tortured or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment (Art.3 ECHR).   There are no circumstances where this can be lawful. Article 3 (EHCR) is  an  unqualifiable right. A Civil Court has already entered judgement  that  MK’s sexual relationship with Ms Wilson was Assault [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35350095, https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/new-met-apology/withdraw-defence/, http://thejusticegap.com/2016/01/12400/ ], and the police themselves have described such relationships as “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong”, a “gross violation of personal dignity and integrity” that “caused significant trauma” [http://news.met.police.uk/videos/mps-apology-long-term-sexual-relationships-21074].

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  [2]. These infiltrations took place because of her involvement in  protest  groups, infringing her rights to freedom of expression and  association  (Art.10&11 ECHR).

4] https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/our-stories/kates-story/

5] http://news.met.police.uk/news/claimants-in-civil-cases-receive-mps-apology-138574?utm_campaign=send_list&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sendgrid

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.

9]   The claimant will argue that many of the factual matters raised by the  claim are already in the public domain  and  that the Courts have found  that the Police are not able to rely on the Neither Confirm Nor Deny  policy in relation to those matters [https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/uploads/2014/07/Final-high-court-judgement-on-NCND.doc, https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/womens-statement-high-court-ruling-met-police-cannot-maintain-blanket-ncnd-to-cover-up-gross-abuses-of-intimate-relationships-while-undercover/].   This is a case of great public interest, and Kate should be entitled  to  get disclosure from the police, which she has not had to date, in  order  to be able to engage in proceedings and argue the case.

10] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35350095, https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/new-met-apology/withdraw-defence/, http://thejusticegap.com/2016/01/12400/

— end of background information —

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“RIPA still authorises sexual relationships by state agents”

On 11 June 2015, the Government published ‘A question of trust: report of the investigatory powers review‘ by David Anderson Q.C., the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Jenny Jones, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, gave an excellent response to the report during a debate in the House of Lords on 8 July.

In discussing the continued legality of undercover police officers forming intimate relationships, she stated:

Continue reading ““RIPA still authorises sexual relationships by state agents””

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Submission on new Covert Human Intelligence Sources Code of Practice and Covert Surveillance Code of Practice

The government held a public consultation on proposals to update their codes of practice relating to undercover officers (known in these codes as “Covert Human Intelligence Sources”). The draft codes and the consultation document can be viewed HERE. The consultation closed on Thursday 27 March 2014. What follows below is the submission from the 8 women who are bringing this case:

 

INTRODUCTION

We are a group of 8 women bringing a legal action against the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police arising from the intrusion into our lives by undercover officers, and we are responding to the consultation on proposals to update the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Code of Practice and the Covert Surveillance Code of Practice.

The following points for the consultation are made without prejudice to our view that there are profound structural flaws within RIPA, which suggest that the whole Act requires a radical overhaul. Nor does our participation in this consultation constitute tacit acceptance of the use of undercover policing against political dissent.  We simply wish to try and ensure that the abuses we experienced cannot happen again.

We note that despite the controversy over the issue of undercover relationships in the past couple of years, the Codes of Practice fail to make any mention of intimate and sexual relationships.

On your website it states that “both codes of practice have greatly improved control and oversight of the way public authorities use covert investigatory techniques, in order to protect our right to privacy.” Having had our privacy intruded upon to a huge and damaging degree we feel that these guidelines fail to address the issues raised by our claims, and fail to offer any increased protection to the public.

The changes proposed to the Codes of Practice are not sufficient to prevent the kinds of abuses that have been perpetrated by undercover officers like Mark Kennedy and Marco Jacobs, who were operating under very similar Codes of Practice. It is irrational and represents a dereliction of duty for new guidelines to ignore this behaviour, which has been called “unacceptable and grossly unprofessional” by Jon Murphy, head of ACPO (January 2011).

In the light of inconsistent statements by senior police and ministers** on the subject of sexual relationships, a duty is owed by the government to the public (and to officers) to ensure the regulations are clear. The situation as it stands currently gives free reign to officers and their handlers, and in view of the fact that women have been disproportionately affected by these relationships, a failure to introduce measures to prevent further abuse, amounts to institutional sexism.

** Inconsistent statements on the policy in respect of sexual conduct by undercover officers can be found detailed here.

 

PROPOSED ADDITION TO CODES OF PRACTICE

In our view, in order to provide protection to the public against this abuse, the Codes of Practice need to incorporate a clear statement so officers know from the start of their deployment that sexual and intimate relationships while undercover are not acceptable.  We propose that the following statement be added to the text of para 2.13 (p7):

“Officers are expressly forbidden from entering into intimate or sexual relationships whilst in their undercover persona.”

Such a statement is necessary for the following reasons:

1) Intimate and sexual relationships by undercover officers concealing their real identity from the other person/s in the relationship/s represent a clear violation of the right to respect for private and family life (Art 8) and the right not to be subject to inhumane and degrading treatment (Art 3).  When used by officers infiltrating campaigning and political organisations, they also represent a violation of the right to freedom of expression (Art 10) and freedom of assembly and association (Art 11).

2) Intimate and sexual relationships by undercover officers concealing their real identity from the other person/s in the relationship/s causes serious long-term harm and psychological trauma to those persons and others close to them.

3) Such relationships additionally harm the officers’ families and the officers themselves.

4) Intimate and sexual relationships by officers concealing their true identity from other person in the relationship amounts to a gross invasion of an individual’s fundamental common law right to personal security.

5) The tactic as it has been used, plainly has had and will have a discriminatory effect on women and is thus prohibited by Article 14 ECHR.

6) Under Section 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, a person can only consent to sex if she “agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”. Recent case law adds strength to the argument that undercover officers would be committing sexual offences if they enter into a sexual relationship. (Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority [2011] EWHC 308 and R v McNally [2013] 2 Cr.App. R.28).  It has also been suggested by Chief Constable Mick Creedon in Operation Trinity Report 2 that offences of Misconduct in Public Office may apply. This means that sexual relationships cannot be permitted under these codes, whatever the level of authorisation.  This needs to be made clear.

7) Sexual relationships may produce children and have done in at least two of the reported cases. This means that the tactic poses a risk to women’s bodies and could also have a profound effect on the rights of a child as contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 7 of the UNCRC requires children to be given the right to know their parents. It is difficult to see how the use of a tactic which carries with it the risk that a child will be born to an undercover police officer who will disappear into thin air at a certain stage in the child’s life could be compatible with the UNCRC.

8) Conversely, where relationships are long-lasting, and the officer is unwilling to have children, they have an effect on a woman’s right to have children, as protected by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), since women’s fertility is so much more short-lived than that of men.

9) There is clearly a disproportionate use of the tactic against women. The failure to provide any guidance in relation to sexual relationships itself has a discriminatory impact on women because it makes it more likely that their rights will be unjustifiably interfered with. The impact on women also gives rise to the need to conduct an equality impact assessment in relation to the publication of any new Code of Guidance. No such Equality Impact Assessment has to our knowledge been produced.

 

FURTHER BACKGROUND

1) Article 3 rights are absolute or unqualified human rights – it is not possible to authorise someone to violate an unqualified human right under any circumstances.  We note that in a recent High Court judgement, Justice Tugendhat stated that a physical sexual relationship, which is covertly maintained, is more likely to fall into the category of degrading treatment, “depending on the degree and nature of the concealment or deception involved”.

2) Article 8, 10 & 11 rights are qualified rights, but interference with qualified rights is permissible only if: 

a) there is a clear legal basis for the interference with the qualified right that people can find out about and understand.

We note that there is nothing in law which states that if a police officer suspects an individual of involvement in a crime or with a political movement, that officer is entitled to have a sexual relationship with the person to try to find out.

b) the action/interference is necessary in a democratic society. 

Sexual and intimate relationships cannot be said to be necessary – It was asserted by Nick Herbert in June 2012 that “to ban such actions would provide a ready-made test for the targeted criminal group to find out whether an undercover officer was deployed among them.” We believe this to be a ludicrous argument designed to allow abuse to continue. There are a multitude of reasons why any individual might decline to become intimate with another person.  Such reasons are given in every day life and would not lead to an assumption that the person declining was an undercover officer.

In any event, such an argument would not be tolerated in respect of murder or child abuse, so why should it be tolerated in respect of abuse of women?

Further a defence of necessity and self-defence already exists in British law – therefore any officer genuinely in fear of his or her life and forced by circumstances into breaking the prohibition would be able to argue this in their defence.

c) the action/interference is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved by carrying it out. The action or interference must be in response to ‘a pressing social need’, and must be no greater than that necessary to address the social need.  Given the level of invasion of privacy and the serious psychological harm caused by such relationships they would clearly fail the hurdle of proportionality.

3) The rights of women to autonomy in reproduction are protected by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Article 16(1) of which provides: States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:

(a) The same right to enter into marriage;

(b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent;

(c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its dissolution;

(d) The same rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of their marital status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount;

(e) The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights.

4) Article 3 of the UNCRC provides that “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”  Article 7 states: “The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.”

5) German Police internal guidelines expressly forbid the use of intimate or sexual relationships for the purpose of gathering information because this would violate basic privacy rights (“Kernbereich privater Lebensgestaltung”).  This applies to undercover investigators as well as informants employed by the federal authorities.  If it is possible to ban this tactic in another European country without risking a “ready-made test” for a targeted group then there is no reason not to implement such a ban here.

 

SECTION ON COLLATERAL INTRUSION (p12)

In our experience the depth of the intrusion into our lives also meant a deep intrusion into the lives of family members and close friends. For example, undercover police officers “infiltrated” deeply emotional family gatherings such as funerals, weddings and birthday celebrations. The psychological harm inflicted, not only on us, but on close members of our family (including infirm, elderly relatives) cannot be justified.

Such intrusion is referred to in the guidelines as “Collateral Intrusion” and, perversely, its authorisation appears to require less rigorous tests than intrusion into the lives of “suspects”. Collateral Intrusion is, it seems, a euphemism for violating the fundamental human rights of people who are not even the specific subjects of surveillance, without any real consideration of the psychological damage that such deep deceptions might cause.

As can be seen from some of the authorisations for the activities of Mark Kennedy, it was considered that any “like minded activist” was a valid target for infiltration, and so further authorisation was not sought for their inclusion into the operation, regardless of their relevance to any investigation (and despite such an approach being a clear interference with Article 10 & 11 rights). It is also evident from documents that have come to light thus far that the extended family of political activists were also considered ‘fair-game’. The Codes of Practice have not altered in any meaningful way to ensure that this behaviour does not continue.

In the same way that we don’t consider that forming intimate sexual relationships could ever be considered necessary or proportionate, it is always wholly inappropriate for a police officer to insert themselves into extended families, in the way that being part of long-term relationships would necessitate.

In our view every individual whose Article 8 Human Rights may be breached by an operation should be afforded the respect of having the merits of that intrusion specifically considered and recorded, including the specific reasons why it is considered necessary and proportionate.

 

LEVELS OF AUTHORISATION

In terms of intrusiveness, entering into deceitful long-term relationships and/or moving into people’s homes and becoming party to the most intimate details of their private lives is quite clearly more intrusive than the interception of post and telephone calls, and the positioning of recording devices in people’s homes or cars. The authorisation requirements should therefore be at least as stringent. It is inconceivable that despite increases in levels of authorisation provided for in these codes of practice, it is still the case that a phone tap needs greater authorisation than a CHIS.

It is still the case that whilst ‘Warrants signed in person by the Secretary of State, authorisations from the Secretary of State or prior approval from a Surveillance Commissioner or judge’ are required for what are considered the most intrusive methods of surveillance, it is not a requirement for the deployment of Covert Human Intelligence Sources. Whilst it is never acceptable to form intimate long-term relationships whilst operating undercover, it is still plainly absurd to consider a CHIS less intrusive than a phone tap in many cases.

To assist with understanding the impact of this type of intrusion on people’s lives, we attach our evidence presented to the Home Affairs Select Committee, as well as our Letter before Claim.   Given this evidence it is clear that the most intrusive methods of surveillance used to date are not adequately dealt with by RIPA.  These Codes of Practice should be changed to ensure that the abuses we have suffered would not be allowed in future.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY

This public consultation is taking place in the shadow of a consistently obstructive approach by the police to any public criticism. Their attitude to our cases has been to refuse to provide a properly pleaded defence or standard disclosure, even refusing to confirm or deny that the officers involved were in fact working for the police. Combine this with the recent allegations of corruption and cover-ups surrounding inquiries into cases such as Stephen Lawrence and Hillsborough, amongst others, and revelations about the shredding of documents pertaining to controversial police activity, the public perception of police accountability is low.

It is clear that the Codes of Practice as they applied to the NPOIU and the Kennedy operation, and as they now stand, will not be enough to ensure accountability. They must not be used to provide immunity from public scrutiny when wrong decisions are made, as has so patently happened in the past.

We must never lose sight of the fact that intrusive surveillance violates fundamental human rights. The test of whether something is ‘proportionate or necessary’ alone hasn’t been sufficient to prevent abuse of position by undercover officers in the past.

The most rigorous standards possible must be applied to ensuring the enforceability of these guidelines and other laws relating to the use of CHIS. Those who make the decision to violate someone’s Human Rights under these Codes of Practice must be fully accountable to the public.

The above is a submission by the eight women who are bringing this case to a government consultation. The draft codes and the consultation document to which this submission refers can be viewed HERE. The consultation closed on Thursday 27 March 2014. 

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ACTION ALERT – Consultation on undercover officers

Government consultation closes Thursday 27 March – proposals fall short over undercover relationships – send an email – see key points below

The Government is currently holding a public consultation on proposals to update their codes of practice relating to undercover officers (known in these codes as “Covert Human Intelligence Sources”). The draft codes and the consultation document can be viewed HERE.

We would urge our supporters to contribute to this consultation, which ends on March 27th.  To make a rapid contribution, the key points we are keen for supporters to make are as follows….

* There’s nothing in these codes of practice to prevent the kind of intimate sexual relationships by police officers in their undercover roles that have come to light over the last few years.

* The practice of forming intimate sexual relationships is unprofessional and unacceptable.

* It is time that the government clarifies the situation, to make it clear that these gross violations of privacy are not authorised.

Please feel free to express these in your own words, or of course to add other points as appropriate.

Email responses by 11.45pm on Thursday March 27th:

  • either use the contact form below, which will automatically forward your opinions to the consultation address
  • or send directly to RIPA@homeoffice.x.gsi.gov.uk

Thanks for taking action.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

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Statement re today’s Appeal judgment

Below is the full text of a public statement from three of the women in this case. These three women, alongside three other claimants, appealed against their human rights claims being sent to a secret court. This statement is in response to the judgment on that appeal as handed down today at 10.30am, and it outlines two key decisions made by the Appeal judges.

Public Statement: Tuesday November 5th 2013

The Court of Appeal has today decided against us in the first part of our appeal, namely our attempt to have our human rights cases against the police heard in open court, and have upheld the decision that the claims should be heard by the shadowy and secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). [1] 

However, we welcome the clarity from the Court of Appeal that the actions of the police were intrusive and amount to a breach of Human Rights. They said:

“The establishing and/or maintaining of an intimate sexual relationship for the covert purpose of obtaining intelligence is a seriously intrusive form of investigatory technique. We do not think that it is in issue that it amounts to an invasion of an individual’s common law right to personal security and of a most intimate aspect of the right to privacy under article 8 of the Convention.”  

 
However, despite this recognition of the extreme gravity and potentially abusive nature of this technique, they ruled that the only forum that can adjudicate on the human rights violations, and the “necessity and proportionality” of its uses, is the IPT.
 
The second part of our appeal was successful, which lifts the stay on High Court proceedings, allowing the common law part of the claims to proceed. We welcome this decision, with which the court recognises our “right to have [our] claims heard in open court in accordance with procedures which have been developed and designed to provide a fair route to a just result.” However, we are very disappointed that human rights abuses by the police are not subject to the same fair route to justice. 

The civil claims being brought before the High Court may now be our only access to justice.  However, the approach of the Metropolitan Police to this litigation has shown that they intend to obstruct our access to truth and justice by any means necessary, regardless of costs. They have stated that they will apply for ‘closed materials proceedings’ in the event of claims reaching the High Court, and they are currently applying to strike the other five claims in our case out of the High Court on the basis of their wish to ‘neither confirm nor deny’ that the men involved were undercover officers. [2] 
 
In allowing the High Court stay to be lifted for the common law part of our case, the court has recognised the severe limitations of the IPT procedure.  They described the original decision by Mr Justice Tugendhat to allow the IPT to take precedence as “flawed and plainly wrong”, and described the IPT as being a forum that “…is ill-suited to the determination of claims that involve many issues of fact relevant to both liability and damages.” recognising that hearings before the IPT…

“…may take place in the absence of the applicants; applicants have no  right to the disclosure of evidence relied on by the opposing party or  to know the case against them; there is no right to cross-examine  opposing witnesses or to representation or funded representation; there  is no right to a reasoned judgment and no right of appeal.”

 
It is alarming then that the human rights claims aspect of our case will proceed to the IPT. The judges’ conclusions also highlight the extreme shortcomings of the RIPA legislation, stating that “There is no doubt that, in enacting RIPA, Parliament intended to override fundamental human rights” The Act purports to protect our rights but in fact exists only to override them. 

We remain painfully aware that the contradictions and obstructions that surround our fight for justice continue. Last week the College of Policing re-iterated the words of other senior police officers by stating that undercover police entering into intimate sexual relationships with those they are surveiling is morally reprehensible and should be banned. Yet this week the Court of Appeal decision would seem to indicate that RIPA, the legislation covering these issues, is capable of authorising such relationships.   
 
It is surely now time for the public to demand a thorough overhaul of legislation that can effectively allow state agents to abuse people and then limit the scrutiny of their actions to a secret court process.

The IPT is an affront to the principles of natural justice, and has only upheld a handful of claims in it’s history [3] while the RIPA legislation is deeply flawed and requires a total overhaul if human rights in this country are genuinely to be respected. 

NOTES: 
1 This hearing formed a part of the legal action against the police by women who were deceived into long-term intimate relationships by undercover officers. Read an outline of the legal battle so far.
2 The police’s application to strike out the claims will be heard in the High Court on the 20th or 21st November 2013
3 Alan Travis Time to review the surveillance tribunal, The Guardian, 2nd August 2010

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