88-year-old peaceful activist wins surveillance database fight
John Catt, who has no criminal record, wins legal action to have records deleted from police database of suspected extremists
Three appeal court judges have ruled that police violated the human rights of an 88-year-old peaceful campaigner when they secretly labelled him a “domestic extremist” and recorded his political activities.
John Catt, who has no criminal record, was shocked when he discovered police had clandestinely kept a detailed note of his presence on more than 55 demonstrations over a four-year period.
On Thursday, he won his legal action to have the records deleted from a secret database of so-called domestic extremists. Details of the surveillance were revealed by the Guardian in 2010.
Catt said: “I hope this judgment will bring an end to the abusive and intimidatory monitoring of peaceful protestors by police forces nationwide. Police surveillance of this kind only serves to undermine our democracy and deter lawful protest.”
His lawyer, Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy, added :”This judgment exposes the widespread and sinister nature of police surveillance of ordinary members of the public in this country. It also acts as a safeguard against the creeping criminalisation of peaceful protest.
“The Association of Police Officers and Metropolitan police commissioner have sanctioned this unlawful conduct for almost a decade and must be made accountable”.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013