Angus McCullogh KC to lead PSNI review into alleged surveillance

Angus McCullogh KC to lead PSNI review into alleged surveillance

Angus McCullough KC

London lawyer Angus McCullough KC has been appointed by the PSNI to conduct an independent review of the force’s alleged use of surveillance against journalists, lawyers and NGOs.

The PSNI’s chief constable, Jon Boutcher, this week denied that documents published in the course of proceedings before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) revealed that “routine and covert surveillance” of journalists and lawyers had taken place.

“Normally, I would make no comment regarding ongoing tribunal proceedings however, in this instance, the inaccurate interpretation of the documents has given rise to serious public concern about the use or abuse of police powers,” he said.

The matter is set to come before the IPT again in October. The PSNI has also drawn up a report which has been shared with the Northern Ireland Policing Board and is expected to be published.

Justice minister Naomi Long yesterday told MLAs that calling a statutory public inquiry into the issue would be premature — and may require UK government involvement given the national security issues involved.

Mr Boutcher said Mr McCullough’s appointment to conduct an independent review, which again “will not extend to anything that is currently within the scope of the IPT proceedings”, would “add further reassurance”.

The KC will be supported by a group of experts and stakeholders, consisting of Baroness Nuala O’Loan; Martha Spurrier BL; Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director at Amnesty International UK; Daniel Holder, director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ); Alyson Kilpatrick BL, chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; David A Lavery CB, chief executive of the Law Society of Northern Ireland; and Seamus Dooley, assistant general secretary of the National Union of Journalists.

Mr Boutcher said: “Angus McCullough KC is recognised as a leading special advocate in practice in the United Kingdom. It is proposed that he would engage closely with the reference group in performing his role.

“Mr McCullough KC will provide a public-facing report of his findings when the review is finished and during this work he will be available to the Northern Ireland Policing Board to report on the progress of the review.”

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