At Derry District Judges Court today Creggan man Anthony Lancaster appeared on a single charge of assaulting PSNI Constable McKeever on 26th November 2011 in the Bogside area of Derry.
Mr Lancaster always denied the allegation, contending it to be a malicious prosecution. Along with fellow Derry man Marvin Canning, both men were stopped at Westland Avenue by police officers under section 24 of the Justice and Security (JSA) (NI) Act 2007. Mr Canning was one of three persons who successfully challenged the use of sections 21 and 24 of the JSA in the Court of Appeal on 9th May this year.
After submissions from his legal team that the PSNI had been acting illegally, District Judge McElholm ruled there was no case to answer adding
“It was clear at the relevant time there was no Code of Practice in place. The Quality Law requirement therefore cannot be satisfied so the Constable was not acting in lawful execution of his duty.”
Mr Lancaster’s solicitor, Ciarán Shiels of Madden & Finucane said after court
“We welcome this decision. The implications of this afternoon’s ruling will have a wide-ranging effect on similar prosecutions currently before the Courts. This prosecution should have been withdrawn following the Court of Appeal decision on 9th May. We had already initiated civil proceedings for damages in this and many other similar cases. Persons similarly affected should seek legal advice in relation to bringing civil cases against the PSNI for their unlawful use of this power. Defendants who received criminal convictions from the Courts arising from Justice and Security Act Stop and Searches should also now seek advice in relation to appealing those convictions.”