Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1594      May 22, 2013

No justice for Martin Corey

Martin Corey is a 63 year-old-man imprisoned in the north of Ireland.

On April 16, 2010, Martin’s house in Lurgan was visited by members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Martin was arrested.

When he queried what the charges were, Martin was told that the police officers “did not know”. And that all they were told was to arrest Martin.

Martin Corey is a Republican who, in his youth fought against the foreign occupation of his native land. It was during this struggle for freedom that Martin Corey was charged with the murder of two members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), the forerunner of the PSNI. Martin was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1973.

Martin served just short of the next 19 years behind bars; he was released in June 1992.

Martin Corey did not sign any documents imposing conditions on his release.

Martin returned to Lurgan, where he set up a successful business as the local grave digger, formed a long-term relationship and settled down to a peaceful life. That was until his arrest in 2010. Martin Corey is still in prison and he still does not know what the charges against him are. Martin’s legal team also do not know what the charges are and neither does any judge hearing the case against Martin, because according to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), he is being held on “Undisclosed or Secret Charges”. A special advocate, appointed by the NIO, can view the evidence and tell the judge what they can do. This makes a mockery of the judicial system when a politician, unelected in the North of Ireland, can make the rules regarding a person’s freedom. Martin Corey is selectively interned by an unjust British system.

Martin Corey is entitled as a life sentence prisoner to a parole hearing every 12 months; this is continually adjourned or not even scheduled. And the conditions that Martin is being kept under are a disgrace. Mail being kept from him for weeks at a time, prison craft that he has made, smashed by vindictive prison officers, as well as being denied proper medical or dental treatment in a reasonable time.

In May 2012, Martin appealed his imprisonment based on the fact he had not been charged with any crime nor had he been brought before a judge. Justice Treacey heard the appeal and in his verdict stated that Martin’s human rights had been breached and ordered Martin Corey be released immediately and placed no conditions on the release.

Martin returned to Maghaberry Prison to pack his belongings, his family travelled from Lurgan to pick him up and to take him home. It was whilst Martin was waiting in the prison reception that prison officers informed him that the Secretary of State had ordered him returned to the cells. The NIO had appealed Justice Treacey’s decision, but only after the Justice had boarded a plane and was about to leave the country, otherwise Justice Treacey would have had to hear any appeals. With Treacey out of the way a patsy of the British NIO upheld their appeal and hence Martin was returned to the cells.

When Martin’s legal team found out they immediately launched legal action against the appeal by the NIO, but to no avail. Martin finally got to appeal the decision in the High Court on July 11, more than six weeks after the decision by Justice Treacey, and that appeal the NIO overturned in hours.

The Lord Chief Justice upheld the ruling and stated that Martin’s case should be reheard on November 26, 2012. At the rehearing a panel of three appeals judges upheld the decision of the NIO to keep Martin incarcerated.

Martin’s legal team then applied to the High Court for permission to take their case before the Supreme Court in London. Martin’s legal team were very confident of winning in the Supreme Court, but in early May 2013, their euphoria was short lived as the appeal was denied without any valid reason being given. If you look beyond this denial, you will see British intransigence at its best.

By denying Martin the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, they have effectively blocked his application to the European Court of Human Rights, as he has not exhausted all domestic avenues. British politicians are very quick to point the finger in regards to human rights abuses around the world, but even quicker to put the blinkers on when it is occurring in their own backyard and perpetrated by their own people.

The Good Friday Agreement promised Equality, Justice and Human Rights for all. This obviously does not include Republicans who do not agree with the way the peace is being portrayed or do not agree with the ruling parties. Martin Corey is but one of these people who are suffering from a great injustice at the hands of a vindictive British government.

Martin Corey is an innocent man; he is innocent of any wrong doing. If the authorities believe that Martin is guilty of a crime, then the law of the land must prevail, charge him and bring him before a court of law, where he has the right to defend himself, not having to fight an invisible foe in the guise of undisclosed charges.

No Charges! No Evidence! Not Guilty!

Release Martin Corey.

James Connolly Association Australia, Melbourne.   

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