‘Hooded Men’ walk out of Belfast High Court after another adjournment

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Some of the ‘Hooded Men’ walked out of Belfast High Court this morning after a judge adjourned their case for another 11 weeks.

Six of the 14 men, who claim to have been tortured while interned in 1971, and their supporters walked out of the court following the adjournment by Judge Paul Maguire.

The group are seeking a full public inquiry into the events of 1971 and had requested a judicial review and full disclosure of all documents linked to the case.

The men are taking a case against the Secretary of State Teresa Villiers, the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton and the Justice minister David Ford claiming alleged failures to order a full inquiry.

However speaking after the case was adjourned until April 6, Lurgan man Jim McIlmurray who has been campaigning for justice for the ‘Hooded Men’ said they were ‘very frustrated’.

He said the group had expected a date to be set for the judicial review and full disclosure of all documents.

However Mr McIlmurray explained that a defence lawyer told the court they had been receiving documents regarding the case even this morning.

The judge is to review the matter on April 6.

However Mr McIlmurray said the group’s lawyer Daragh Mackin of KRW Law is to appeal the decision.

Mr McIlmurray said: “On 3 July 2014, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris told the Northern Ireland Policing Board that the PSNI would conduct an investigation into the allegations of torture.

“In October 2014, we were notified by the PSNI, in a summary fashion, that the investigation had been concluded and that no evidence was found indicating that the UK government had authorised torture.

“On the 4th of June 2015 we were told the Juridical Review would open on the 30th of November 2015.

“In early November their barristers went to court seeking an adjournment and it was granted and we were given the date of the 7th of December.

“During this time we were granted “Disclosure” access to information. Pages which had been removed from files we had obtained. The government had removed pages from files.

“We were to receive these complete documents by the 18th of December, they never arrived.

“It’s disgraceful. They know the timescale and yet they come back time after time and ask for an extension.

“I ask the courts to expedite the process, on the grounds these men have been waiting for too long already.

The Hooded Men have claimed that in 1971 when they were interned they were forced to listen to constant loud static noise; deprived of sleep, food and water; forced to stand in a stress position and beaten if they fell.

They said they were hooded and thrown to the ground from helicopters - despite being at near ground level, they had been told they were hundreds of feet in the air.

In 1978, the European Court of Human Rights held that the UK had carried out inhuman and degrading treatment.

However, the court fell short of defining this treatment as “torture”.

Last year, the Irish Government said it would ask the European Court to revise this judgement.