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Agreement reached on material seized from Guardian journalist’s partner

Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Friday, August 30, 2013
12:05 PM

An agreement has been reached on how police can use material seized from a Guardian journalist’s partner held at Heathrow under anti-terror laws, High Court judges heard.

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Two judges in London granted temporary orders last week which partially and temporarily curtailed police use of data taken from David Miranda.

The 28-year-old Brazilian is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, who has worked with US whistleblower Edward Snowden on a series of security services exposes.

Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker ruled that, pending the hearing, the material could continue to be examined, but only for national security purposes and the protection of the public.

The case was listed to be heard before Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker to determine what, if any, injunction should be in place pending a judicial review hearing, possibly in October.

But at the start of proceedings, Matthew Ryder QC, for Mr Miranda, told the judges discussions had been taking place between the parties and ‘we have managed to agree an order between us’ to continue until that hearing later in the year.

Mr Miranda, who was held at the airport for nine hours on Sunday, August 18, has launched an application for judicial review, arguing his detention was a misuse of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and breached his human rights.

He was held without charge for the maximum time permitted under the anti-terror legislation, which concerns port and border controls, as he made a stopover in London on a journey from Berlin back home to Brazil.

Mr Ryder said the agreement would allow the order made by Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker to continue pending the judicial review hearing, expected to take place in the last two weeks of October.

A lawyer representing Mr Miranda said after today’s hearing the agreed order announced today would allow police access to material seized ‘only on narrow and tightly defined grounds’.

Gwendolen Morgan, of law firm Bindmans, said outside court the Home Office and police had made ‘sweeping and vague assertions about national security’.

She said Mr Miranda does not accept them and ‘looks forward to the opportunity to have the Government’s actions and assertions fully scrutinised’ at the full hearing.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are pleased that David Miranda’s legal team and the court have agreed with us that there is a compelling case for this highly-sensitive stolen material to be retained by the police, and that all the documents retrieved may be examined on both national security and specified criminal grounds.

“The examination of this documentation is motivated by crucial public security concerns, something clearly demonstrated by today’s consent order and the release of the witness statements.”

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