Nearly 50 republicans and loyalists interned without trial to sue state

Solicitor confirms action follows Gerry Adams’s successful appeal

Kevin Winters: expects case to be heard later this year.

Kevin Winters: expects case to be heard later this year.

 

Nearly 50 republicans and loyalists interned without trial at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland are to sue the British state, it emerged today.

They are taking legal action for alleged false imprisonment after the UK supreme court quashed Gerry Adams’s historic convictions for attempting to escape from jail.

Earlier this month justices ruled the former Sinn Fein President’s detention at the Maze Prison in the 1970s had been unlawful because the secretary of state at the time had not personally considered it.

Lawyers representing 30 ex-republican internees have now been instructed to issue proceedings against the secretary of state, the Northern Ireland Office, PSNI and the ministry of defence. The lawsuits allege false imprisonment, unlawful detention, assault, battery and trespass, around Interim Custody Orders (ICO) served between 1972 and 1975.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, confirmed the action follows Mr Adams successful appeal.

Similar actions already initiated by 19 former loyalist internees are also being stepped up on the back of the supreme court decision. The elderly Protestants are suing the Northern Ireland Office, PSNI, ministry of defence and Secretary of State, alleging they were imprisoned without trial in a bid to “even up the score”.

“From initial assessment on some of the papers it seems the necessary protocol was not in place, including, crucially, an absence of the signature of the Secretary of State on the ICOs,” Mr Winters said, adding he expected the case to be heard later this year.