Bindmans have today sent a letter before action challenging the legality of the decision to detain and question Mr Miranda for 9 hours at Heathrow on Sunday using Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. They have asked the Government to explain at whose request, and for what purpose, police seized sensitive journalistic material from Mr Miranda. A copy of the letter is here.
David Miranda was assisting his partner Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has published a series of stories for the Guardian relating to mass surveillance programmes by the US and UK Government.
Criminal lawyer Kate Goold and Gavin Kendall from Bindmans LLP were instructed on Sunday when the Guardian learnt of the detention. Kate Goold said: “We are most concerned about the disproportionate way in which these powers were used and the chilling effect this may have on freedom of expression.”
Today, Bindmans solicitor Gwendolen Morgan, who is representing Mr Miranda in the public law challenge, has written to the Secretary of State for the Home Office and the Met Commissioner calling for assurances that “there will be no inspection, copying, disclosure, transfer, distribution or interference, in any way”, with the disputed information until the case has been determined by the court.
She said: “Our client is entitled to undertakings that journalistic material which has been seized unlawfully will not be disclosed or shared or used.” The same applies if any other public authority or third party – either domestic or foreign – has been granted possession or access to the material and our client is entitled to know who they are. The apparently cavalier way in which journalistic privileges have been breached is extremely troubling.”
In the absence of such guarantees, Bindmans will apply for an injunction and ask the court to consider the judicial review as a matter of urgency this week.
See related media coverage below:
Government facing legal action over David Miranda detention
Channel 4 News