PSNI to be sued over woman’s ‘deplorable’ arrest in Derry

PSNI to be sued over woman's 'deplorable' arrest in Derry

Ciarán Shiels

Lawyers for a 27-year-old dental nurse arrested at her workplace in Derry yesterday have said they will bring proceedings against the PSNI for a “distasteful and deplorable abuse of powers”.

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the PSNI said the woman was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a Class B controlled drug as part of an investigation into criminality linked to the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

Ciarán Shiels of Madden & Finucane, the woman’s solicitor, said his client is a “well-respected healthcare professional wholly unconnected to criminality of any kind” and suggested that the operation was connected to a separate court case which embarrassed police.

He said that the PSNI statement, which said the woman “remains in custody at this time”, was issued after she had already been released having been interviewed under caution for just 11 minutes.

Mr Shiels said: “Not a single shred of incriminatory evidence was referred to. Not a single allegation of any kind was put to her and at no stage whatsoever was the INLA or any terrorist or organised crime group even mentioned.

“At the same time other more senior members of this unit were drafting and disseminating their libellous statement to public attacking her character in the most obscene, obsequious and unfair manner.

“Even at the point of her release police did not give her the basic warning or courtesy of informing her that this statement had been released to the public concerning her ordeal.”

He added: “We strongly suspect that this arrest and media publicity operation was ordered following the release on bail of a significantly older half-brother of our client late on Monday after a particularly contentious bail application.

“In that matter Deputy District Judge O’Hare was extremely critical of inaccurate information provided to him by the PSNI paramilitary crime taskforce and bail was granted on strict conditions, notwithstanding the police objections.

“However to arrest a woman with no criminal record from her place of work, where she is a well-respected healthcare professional wholly unconnected to criminality of any kind, and to then denigrate her good name in the most egregious way is to be condemned and deplored.

“We confirm that we are raising this matter with the Police Ombudsman, her local political representatives, Colum Eastwood her local member of Parliament, and will be issuing civil proceedings on her behalf as soon as possible. I confirm that I have spoken directly with Mr Eastwood MP in respect of this matter.”

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