Fears over secret closed door hearings increase after former IRA mole is denied access to his own case

The judge said he had “principled and pragmatic” reasons for allowing the Home Secretary’s application

Media Editor

Fears over the Government’s use of secret closed-door hearings have increased after a High Court judge ruled in favour of Home Secretary Theresa May’s application to deny a former IRA mole access to his own case.

The finding means that Martin McGartland, who is credited with saving 50 lives after supplying intelligence to the British authorities, must rely on a special advocate who neither he nor his lawyers will have direct access to.

Lawyers for Mr McGartland, who with his partner Jo Asher is suing MI5 and the Home Office for its alleged failure to provide him with after care of medical support and benefit payments, say the case has no bearing on national security.

Mr Justice Mitting’s ruling in favour of an application by the Home Secretary is based on the Justice & Security Act 2013, which allows the security services to apply for cases to be heard in controversial closed material proceedings without claimants or their lawyers being present.

“The judge has given primacy to secrecy over every other consideration,” said Nogah Ofer, Mr McGartland’s solicitor. “It does not even give lip service to the right of a claimant to have knowledge of the evidence in his own case. This is someone who worked for the British state as an informant, it’s not someone who was a terrorist. It’s a million miles away from what the legislation was supposed to be addressing.”

The judge said he had “principled and pragmatic” reasons for allowing the Home Secretary’s application. To properly consider the case, he would need to consider sensitive material which could only be dealt with in secret.

Ms Ofer said Mr McGartland would be taking the case to the Court of Appeal.

His cover as a mole was blown in 1991 when he fell under suspicion and was “arrested” by the IRA before being taken for interrogation. Believing he was about to be murdered after eight hours of questioning, he threw himself from a third floor window. He suffered serious head injuries but was rescued by locals who called an ambulance.

McGartland was given a new identity but he was attacked and repeatedly shot by an IRA hit team who tracked him to a safe house in North Tyneside in 1999. His experiences formed the basis of the 2008 film 50 Dead Men Walking, starring Jim Sturgess and Ben Kingsley.

In contesting his claim that he has received insufficient after care, the Home Office is refusing to acknowledge that he even worked for the British state by taking a “neither confirm nor deny” (NCND) position.

The Justice & Security Act was previously used earlier this year in the case of Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, 27, a terror suspect who went missing after changing into a burka at a mosque. Although he was missing, lawyers acting on his behalf applied for the quashing of restrictions on his movements introduced by the Home Secretary.

A judge had previously ruled that there were reasonable grounds for believing that Mr Mohamed and a second individual, referred to only as CF, had been involved in terrorism-related activities.

Ms Ofer said that the McGartland case was more akin to the treatment of police informants, which are routinely handled by the courts without recourse to such secrecy. “We don’t accept that there are national security issues here,” she said.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments