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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 January 2018

Undercover policing legal challenge

Undercover police officer agent provocateur student movement 2010, photo Paul Mattsson

Undercover police officer agent provocateur student movement 2010, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Public Law Interest Unit press release

The Public Interest Law Unit (a small project of a south London law centre) has launched judicial review proceedings against both the Home Office and the Scottish government in respect of the failure to inquire into undercover policing operations in Scotland.

On 14 September, Lord Brailsford of Edinburgh's Court of Session agreed to grant permission for a full judicial review hearing to take place.

The full hearing is to determine whether the UK government acted unlawfully in refusing to extend the terms of reference of the inquiry to Scotland, and separately but simultaneously, the decision of the Scottish government to refuse to set up an inquiry of its own.

In March 2015, Theresa May, then home secretary, announced her intention to set up an inquiry into undercover policing.

This announcement followed revelations that police officers, as early as 1968, had spied on political campaigners and had used the names of dead children to create their identities.

The officers deceived women into forming long-term intimate relationships and had fathered children, befriended grieving families and acted as agents provocateurs.

The undercover police operations under scrutiny by the inquiry are limited to those conducted in England and Wales.

However, much evidence has come to light demonstrating that the Metropolitan Police had in fact operated in Scotland, and possibly without the permission of the Scottish authorities.

Tilly Gifford, environmental justice campaigner and member of Plane Stupid, had also been targeted in Scotland, and in 2009, officers attempted to recruit her as an informant.

Tilly was asked to betray her friends, beliefs and the communities in Scotland that she had been campaigning to protect.

In the course of three meetings, police officers indicated that they would give Tilly cash payments in exchange for information, and threatened her with prison should she fail to cooperate.

But the Scottish Legal Aid Board refused to fund Tilly's case. The lawyers involved are currently working on a pro bono basis and have raised thousands through Crowdjustice to protect her from any adverse costs.

The right of access to justice is both fundamental and constitutional, and state bodies must be held to account when abusing their powers.

Tilly and other activists who have also been spied on are prevented from participating in an inquiry into covert operations which have dramatically affected their lives and the lives of their families.

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In The Socialist 17 January 2018:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Carillion crisis: demand action to save jobs and services

NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

Victory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests


What we think

Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy


International socialist news and analysis

Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

Stop repression in Hong Kong and China


Workplace news and analysis

RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

Hackney school cleaners strike

PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

Home care workers to strike

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

We must fight all council cuts!

No to the Woolwich monster block

Undercover policing legal challenge

Heating scandal on east London estate

Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

Packed Newham meeting against academies

Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

Southern Socialist Party conference


Opinion

Opinion: foster care is work - carers deserve workers' rights

Opinion: British imperialism can take no credit in fight against Isis

Theatre: 'Young Marx' shows growth in great platform for his ideas


 

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