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Permission granted to judicially review PSNI over custody death

On 12th January the High Court granted leave to a mother to judicially review a PSNI decision taken following the death of her son.

David McGowan was arrested and taken to Lisburn police station in May 2014.  He died while being held within the custody suite.  Subsequent to the death, the PSNI made the decision to reinstate the officer who dealt with Mr McGowan in custody. 

Hugh Southey QC, acting for Mrs McGowan, argued that the PSNI’s decision was flawed and involved a failure to consult with the family.  He also argued that resource issues played a role in the decision to reinstate the officer:

If one reinstates the officer essentially because it’s said that the PSNI in simple terms can’t afford not to deploy the officer, one is potentially saying we are going to have to tolerate actions, which, on the face if it, may well have been unlawful.’    

Mr Justice Maguire stressed that any alleged wrongdoing was currently being assessed.  The incident was investigated by the Police Ombudsman and has been referred to the Public Prosecution Service.  However, the Court ruled that there was an arguable case that merited a full judicial review hearing.  The hearing date is still to be listed.

Read an article from the Belfast Telegraph here.  

Northern Ireland High Court