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Former prisoner judicially reviews dismissal decision

The High Court is hearing a judicial review regarding a groundskeeper who was declared unsuitable for a job he carried out for 18 years following his release from prison.

The applicant was a former political prisoner who was released in 1987 after serving eleven and a half years for a murder he committed at the age of 16.  Following his release he secured employment as a groundskeeper in Belfast.  However, due to a technical change in the organisation’s contractual relationship with the civil service he was required to undergo security vetting.  Checks were carried out by Access NI and as a result of these checks, the DFP decided in December 2014 that the applicant was unsuitable for the role.

The judicial review centres on an alleged failure to continue to apply guidance for employers on recruiting staff with conflict-related convictions.  His barrister argued that the guidance was adopted by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMdFM) and the issue should have been brought to the Executive given that it was significant, controversial and cut across departments. 

The hearing continues.

You may read the Belfast Telegraph news article here.