There is still some life in the Belfast Project case! The Belfast Telegraph reports that Winston “Winkie” Rae, a former Loyalist prisoner, has obtained an injunction preventing the PSNI from traveling to Boston to collect the taped recording of his Belfast Project interview. The story does not give any details about the legal arguments, so I’m not really sure what his lawyers argued to the court. I am interested, though, to know how Article 7(2) of the MLAT plays into the latest developments. That article provides:
The Requesting Party shall not use or disclose any information or evidence obtained under this Treaty for any purposes other than for the proceedings stated in the request without the prior consent of the Requested Party.
There are several questions that could arise:
- Are the UK authorities seeking to use Rae’s interviews in a proceeding against Rae, or against someone else, and in either case, was that proceeding one that was listed in the original MLAT request to the United States?
- If the UK authorities want to use the interviews in a proceeding not listed in the original MLAT request, have they obtained the United States’s consent?
- Does someone in Rae’s position have a right under UK law to inquire about whether the UK government has complied with Article 7(2), and if it has not, does he have standing to raise claims that depend on the non-compliance?
All interesting questions on which we can do little but speculate until more is known. (Actually, a UK lawyer could probably answer my last questions in the abstract, though I cannot).