Fennell starts challenge on legal process

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th June 2016

Republican Dee Fennell(right) enters Belfast Laganside Court where he was appearing after he was charged with making a speech in support of dissident republicans. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th June 2016 Republican Dee Fennell(right) enters Belfast Laganside Court where he was appearing after he was charged with making a speech in support of dissident republicans. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Belfast Republican Damien ‘Dee’ Fennell has launched a legal challenge against the process used to prosecute him.

Solicitors for the north Belfast went to court on Monday amid claims that the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) did not follow proper procedures when deciding if he should be prosecuted.

They argue that before giving consent for the prosecution to go ahead the PPS should have consulted British advocate general Jeremy Wright.

It is understood that under the rules when a prosecution involved another jurisdiction it must be referred to Mr Wright, who is also the attorney general for England and Wales.

Mr Fennell is on bail facing three charges including inviting support for a proscribed organisation.

They arise out of a speech he gave at St Coleman’s Cemetery during an Easter Rising commemoration last year.

His trial was due to begin on Wednesday. He denies all the charges.

Solicitors for Mr Fennell say that because some of his comments refer to the Republic his case should have been considered by Mr Wright.

During a hearing a lawyer for the PPS said the alleged offences relate to ‘matters in Northern Ireland’.

A lawyer for Mr Fennell told Judge Gordon Kerr that when an ‘alleged offence is connected to another country another step is required’.

Judge Kerr said he would rule on the case on Wednesday morning.