3 April 1997 Edition

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Prisoner challenges catch-all charges

West Belfast man Rab Kerr, who is in the H Blocks on conspiracy charges, will have his case examined by judicial review at Belfast High Court on Monday 7 April.

Since his arrest on 14 November 1996 Kerr has been trying to establish the exact nature of the charges against him. In a letter to An Phoblacht he wrote, ``so vague and wide ranging are the charges against me that virtually anything could be interpreted as falling under them''.

The charges state: 1, ``that on an unknown date [you] had in your possession any record or document containing any such information likely to be useful to terrorists'' and 2, ``that on an unknown date [you] conspired with a person or persons unknown to collect or record any information which is of such a nature as to be useful to terrorists''.

Since his arrest, when an undercover RUC squad smashed their way into Kerr's Twinbrook home, the DPP have consistently refused to give Kerr's solicitor precise details of the conspiracy charges against him. Indeed all the DPP would say was that ``the RUC remain of the view that to specify details of the evidence in this case would be prejudicial to their inquiries''. And when pressed further the DPP would only reveal that ``it includes information stored on computer''.

However on Tuesday 11 March Kerr's case was heard by Diplock Judge Kerr who agreed that Kerr had ``an arguable case'' and he granted leave for the judicial review to be heard. This will take place on Monday 7 April where Kerr hopes he will find out why he has been held in Long Kesh for over four months.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1