The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland has delivered judgment in an appeal by Gerard Magee relating to the refusal of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to award compensation following a grave miscarriage of justice.
Gerard Magee was convicted on 21 December 1990 by a Diplock Court of explosives offences and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal, however, following a successful application to the European Court of Human Rights which established that the conditions of Mr Magee’s detention at Castlereagh Holding Centre and the denial of access to his solicitor violated his human rights, the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred his case back to the Court of Appeal, and his convictions were subsequently quashed.
An application for compensation to the Secretary of State was refused, and upheld by Girvan J. at the High Court in Belfast. Mr Magee appealed that decision.
Mr Magee’s solicitor, Peter Madden of Madden & Finucane, said today:
“The European Court of Human Rights established that Gerard Magee was detained in a coercive environment in order to incriminate himself without the benefit of legal advice. The European Court relied upon the findings and recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture in relation to oppressive conditions in Castlereagh designed to place detainees under immense psychological pressure. The NI Court of Appeal has now stated it was well known that Castlereagh was an oppressive regime, and was specifically designed as such in order to deal effectively with what it calls terrorist suspects. Regrettably, whilst Castlereagh Holding Centre was in use, such defence submissions to that effect regularly fell upon deaf ears. We will be considering an appeal to the House of Lords on Mr Magee’s behalf.”