Legal challenge to Loughinisland case search warrant

A memorial plaque to those killed at Loughinisland in 1994. Credit: PA

The legality of a search warrant that led to the arrests of two Northern Ireland journalists is being challenged in Belfast’s High Court.

Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, who made the documentary No Stone Unturned about the Loughinisland massacre, were arrested on Friday.

But emergency proceedings have been brought by the company behind the documentary.

It comes after Durham Constabulary raided premises in Belfast, seizing documents and computer equipment, and arresting the two men.

An undertaking has now been given, on behalf of the PSNI and the senior investigator from Durham Constabulary, that the material seized will not be examined pending the outcome of the challenge.

Lawyers representing the documentary maker Fine Point Films were set to argue that the search warrant did not cover all of the material seized.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan suggested that an inventory should be compiled of any equipment and documents seized.

The case is expected to be reviewed again in a week’s time.

Outside court, solicitor Paul Pierce, of KRW Law, representing Fine Point Films, confirmed: “The material seized as part of this search will not be examined until such time as the court can make a fully-informed assessment of the evidence put before the judge when applying for this order.”