Supreme Court rules against PSNI on flag protests

Supreme Court rules against PSNI on flag protests

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Pacemaker

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The Supreme Court said that the PSNI had “misconstrued their legal powers to stop parades”

A Belfast resident has won an appeal at the Supreme Court that the PSNI were wrong to allow union flag protests go ahead.

There were widespread loyalist protests across Northern Ireland after Belfast City Council decided not to fly the Union flag at the City Hall every day of the year in December 2012.

A High Court judge in Belfast ruled in 2014 that the PSNI should not have facilitated illegal parades.

The ruling was quashed after an appeal.

However, the Supreme Court has unanimously overturned that decision and said that the PSNI “misconstrued their legal powers to stop parades”.

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AFP

Image caption

There were protests in December 2012 after Belfast City Council decided not to fly the union flag at City Hall every day of the year

The case was taken to the Supreme Court by a resident from Belfast’s Short Strand area, who cannot be named to protect his safety.

The flag protests included a weekly parade between east Belfast and Belfast’s City Hall, which passed the Short Strand.

The resident had claimed that the PSNI had failed in their legal duty to stop the parades.

The PSNI had argued that they did not have the legal powers to stop the parades, and warned that doing so might have made the situation worse.

The original claim by the resident was upheld by the High Court who said that the PSNI had had not understood the full scope of their powers.

In its full judgement, the Supreme Court agreed with the High Court and said it was “right to conclude that the police laboured under a misapprehension as to the extent of their powers”.

Source: BBC News – Northern Ireland

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