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Matrix Judgments & Commentary

Matrix’s Legal Support Service produce summaries of cases that Matrix members are involved in, which you can find below. You can browse these through the search function on the right.

Home Department permitted to provide material relating to alleged terrorist to US Government, under Mutual Legal Assistance

R (on the application of Elgizouli) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 2516 (Admin)

The Divisional Court has handed down a judgment in a case involving a challenge to a decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to provide material to the US Government, pursuant to a request for Mutual Legal Assistance (‘MLA’).

MLA is a method of cooperation between states for obtaining assistance in the investigation or prosecution of criminal offences. In this case, the requested material related to the alleged terrorist activities of the claimant’s son, Shafee El Sheikh.

The principal issues for determination were whether the decision to provide MLA was compatible with the Data Protection Act 2018 and whether the decision was irrational. In particular, the issue was whether it was strictly necessary and proportionate to transfer personal data to a third country in support of a foreign prosecution in circumstances in which the Crown Prosecution Service had decided that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Mr El Sheikh in this jurisdiction.

Held: the Divisional Court refused permission to apply for judicial review. The Court considered that the prospect of a domestic prosecution was not relevant to the question of whether it was necessary and proportionate to transfer data to a third country, and that it was not arguably irrational for the Secretary of State to fail to have regard to such a prospect in deciding to provide MLA.

High Court rules that hearing does not breach Article 6 right of suspected Al-Qaeda affiliate

QX v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 2508 (Admin)

The High Court has decided that a review under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 s.11(2)(d) of “permitted obligations” imposed on a British citizen under a Temporary Exclusion Order (‘TEO’) after his return to the UK from Turkey does not breach that citizen’s Article 6(1) right to a fair trial.

This judgment follows on from an earlier preliminary judgment by the same court in May 2020 ([2020] EWHC 1221 (Admin)) which decided that the right to a fair trial under Article 6 does apply to these review proceedings. Please click here to read the Matrix Judgment post.

In 2018 the claimant, QX, was deported from Turkey on national security grounds as he is believed to have travelled to Syria, become radicalised, and held a “significant leadership role” in a group linked to Al-Qaeda. Upon the claimant’s return to the UK, a TEO was imposed on him at the request of the Secretary of State, obliging the claimant to (1) report daily to a named police station within specified hours, and (2) attend a two-hour appointment with a Home Office mentor and a two-hour appointment with a theologian each week. The claimant seeks to review the imposition of these powers.

Regarding Article 6, the claimant contended that it was impossible for him to respond to the Secretary of State’s allegation that he continued to engage in activities which risk national security since returning to the UK. Specifically, the allegation was too broad and vague to allow him to give effective instructions, contrary to the test in AF (No 3), and so the Secretary of State’s case was bound to fail. By contrast, the Secretary of State contended that it had complied with the court’s orders made as a result of the disclosure process; thus, the claimant had been provided with sufficient material for Article 6 purposes.

Held: the High Court decided in favour of the Secretary of State, that the determination of the issues in the case will be fair and compatible with the claimant’s Article 6 rights. Even taking the allegation about UK activities out of the equation, the Court concluded that Secretary of State still has a strong case against the claimant based on, inter alia, his significant leadership role in Syria. The Secretary of State is entitled to put such a case, and the claimant is able to give effective instructions and order to answer and refute it: hence there is no breach of Article 6.

Latvian request for the extradition of an ex-KGB agent is refused

Latvia v Karpickovs

Mr Boris Karpickovs was the subject of an extradition request from the Republic of Latvia. In refusing extradition under s.13 of the Extradition Act 2003, the judge concluded that the extradition request was brought for the purpose of silencing Mr Karpickovs as a result of his work for both the Russian and Latvian intelligence services and he might accordingly be prejudiced at his trial. The Court further concluded that there was a real risk of Mr Karpickovs suffering a flagrant denial of justice contrary to article 6 ECHR, due to the incentive of individuals to interfere with the usual course of justice in his case and the long-standing and deep-rooted problems with corruption within the Latvian judicial system.

Daily Telegraph apology for Melania Trump article not defamatory of author

Burleigh v Telegraph Media Group Limited [2020] EWHC 2359 (QB)

The High Court has issued a preliminary ruling holding that an apology published by the Defendant in The Daily Telegraph was not defamatory of the Claimant. The Claimant wrote an article about Mrs Melania Trump which was published by the Defendant in The Daily Telegraph in January 2019. Shortly after this, the Defendant published an […]

Defendant found in contempt by breaching injunction against the harassment of a judge

Oliver v Shaikh [2020] EWHC 2253 (QB)

In December 2019 the High Court found that the Defendant was responsible for posting on various websites a vast amount of abusive and harassing material directed at the Claimant. The principal vehicle for this abuse was the website “Judges Behaving Badly”, which the Judge found was controlled by the Defendant. The Judge granted an injunction against the Defendant to restrain him from further harassing the Claimant. The injunction required the Defendant to remove material from the JBB Website and several other websites.

The Claimant contends that the Defendant has breached the injunction and that his breaches are continuing.

Held: the judge finds, to the criminal standard of proof, that the Defendant has breached the Injunction Order in respect of the breaches. A further date will be fixed at which the Court will consider the penalty to be imposed for the findings of contempt against the Defendant.

Ben Silverstone was involved in this case