by Clare Wilkins, Nottingham Socialist Party
On 30 September, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal handed down its ruling in Kate Wilson’s epic ten-year legal battle over the use of undercover police against protest movements. The groundbreaking ruling identified a “formidable list” of breaches of fundamental human rights by the Metropolitan Police.
The case was part of the battle for justice by Kate and other women, following revelations that they had been deceived into relationships by undercover police. Having exhausted other routes, she took her fight for answers to the secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal.
The court’s ruling stressed that the sexual relationship Kate was deceived into by Mark Kennedy was conducted with the knowledge of his principal cover officer, and that his deployment manager and other senior officers knew about the sexual relationship.
The tribunal found that police took steps to interfere with Ms Wilson’s political rights to hold opinions and with her rights to freedom of expression and association, as well as violating her right to a private and family life.
It ruled that the right to hold opinions and exchange information and ideas must include the right to do so without attracting the attention of the police and being monitored and placed under surveillance. In this case, it concluded, the claimant’s political views were the reason she was subject to surveillance.
Kate Wilson said: “The events in my case happened years ago, however the failure of the police to protect women from sexual predators within their own ranks, and police attempts to criminalise protestors are both still very live issues today. The Tribunal has gone some way towards recognising how deep the abuses run. We need to tackle the misogyny and institutional sexism of the police, and there needs to be a fundamental rethink of the powers they are given for the policing of demonstrations and the surveillance of those who take part.”
Read more, visit: campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com