Belfast Project: Belfast Court Enjoins the PSNI

There is still some life in the Belfast Project case! The Belfast Telegraph reports that Winston “Winkie” Rae, a former Loyalist prisoner, has obtained an injunction preventing the PSNI from traveling to Boston to collect the taped recording of his Belfast Project interview. The story does not give any details about the legal arguments, so I’m not really sure what his lawyers argued to the court. I am interested, though, to know how Article 7(2) of the MLAT plays into the latest developments. That article provides:

The Requesting Party shall not use or disclose any information or evidence obtained under this Treaty for any purposes other than for the proceedings stated in the request without the prior consent of the Requested Party.

There are several questions that could arise:

  • Are the UK authorities seeking to use Rae’s interviews in a proceeding against Rae, or against someone else, and in either case, was that proceeding one that was listed in the original MLAT request to the United States?
  • If the UK authorities want to use the interviews in a proceeding not listed in the original MLAT request, have they obtained the United States’s consent?
  • Does someone in Rae’s position have a right under UK law to inquire about whether the UK government has complied with Article 7(2), and if it has not, does he have standing to raise claims that depend on the non-compliance?

All interesting questions on which we can do little but speculate until more is known. (Actually, a UK lawyer could probably answer my last questions in the abstract, though I cannot).

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2d ed. 2016), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's forthcoming treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation, and he is the publisher of Letters Blogatory, the Web's first blog devoted to international judicial assistance, which the ABA recognized as one of the best 100 legal blogs in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

2 thoughts on “Belfast Project: Belfast Court Enjoins the PSNI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *