High Court Supports Police Detention of David Miranda

You may recall the press outrage last August when David Miranda, the partner of a Guardian journalist (Glen Greenwald) linked to the Edward Snowden whistleblowing saga, was detained at Heathrow Airport for 9 hours on route between Berlin and his home in Rio de Janeiro. 

As is usual when the headlines die down, the lawyers get going.  In this case, Mr . Miranda sought a Judicial Review of the decision to detain him and to seize certain property he was carrying (i.e. encrypted memory sticks).  Unfortunately for Mr Miranda, his application has today (19 February 2014) been rejected by the High Court.  Mr Justice Laws' ruling was that Mr Miranda's detention was lawful and within Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act and, in particular, was not a violation of his right to freedom of expression.  The Judge concluded that whilst the detention amounted to an "indirect interference with press freedom", he considered it was justified as being a "proportionate measure".

This case has all the right ingredients for a good debate over a pint in the pub.  For those with right wing tendencies, this will be another case where, when the evidence is examined in the cold light of day, the police are found to have behaved reasonably . On the other hand, for those with left wing tendencies, the outcome of this case may be seen as another example of the establishment in the form of the Court supporting the establishment in the form of the Police.

So all in all not a good day for Mr Miranda but at least he can be happy knowing that his detention has provided gainful employment for the 17 lawyers (yes 17!) involved in the case. With that amount of lawyers having their say at least it cannot  be said that the Court did not consider all sides of the argument!  

Mr Miranda's legal team is unlikely to take today's decision lying down so  , I suspect, we can look forward to round 2 in Court of Appeal.

Posted on: 19/02/2014

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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