An environmental campaigner targeted by police has failed to persuade a judge that an undercover policing inquiry should be extended to cover Scotland.
Environmentalist, Tilly Gifford, raised a judicial review at the Court of Session to challenge a decision by the Home Office not to examine the role of covert policing north of the border. She also challenged the Scottish Government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry on the same issue.
Gifford was one of seven protesters belonging to the group Plane Stupid who occupied a taxiway at Aberdeen airport in March 2009. She later recorded exchanges with men claiming to be from Strathclyde Police who indicated they could pay for information.
As part of the legal case, an independent report on Undercover Political Policing in Scotland was given to the court. The report documented the surveillance by so-called spycops, over many decades, of campaign groups and movements including trade unions.
But judge Lady Carmichael dismissed the action. She said that European human rights law did not apply for the particular circumstances in the case brought by Gifford.
In response, Gifford said: “This is a massively disappointing decision by the court. Our evidence is clear and sound – there has been undercover policing in Scotland, and it needs to be investigated by an independent transparent public inquiry, not just for my sake but for the blacklisted builders, the campaigns, political parties and organisations striving for social justice who have been spied upon.”
How can it be fair that victims of unethical and illegal undercover policing in England and Wales will get access to an inquiry but Scottish victims won’t? This is unjust and wrong. Neil Findlay MSP
Neil Findlay, Labour MSP, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the decision. “How can it be fair that victims of unethical and illegal undercover policing in England and Wales will get access to an inquiry but Scottish victims won’t?” he said. “This is unjust and wrong.”
The campaign group, Police Spies Out of Lives, said: “Undercover political policing in Scotland is a fact. Whilst we can expect the cowardice of the politicians in failing to call for a public inquiry into undercover political policing in Scotland, we had hoped that the court would see that a failure to extend the public inquiry to Scotland was clearly unlawful.”
In October The Ferret revealed that Scotland’s former police chief personally signed off an undercover operation which involved a police officer duping a woman into sex.
Former Chief Constable Phil Gormley sanctioned deep cover infiltration by spycop, Mark Kennedy, who deceived Kate Wilson into an intimate relationship.
Wilson was an environmental activist targeted by a secret Metropolitan Police squad called the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). While Gormley was overseeing the NPOIU, it ran spycops such as Kennedy, Lynn Watson and Marco Jacobs.
All three worked undercover in Scotland and infiltrated protests at the 2005 G8 Summit at Gleneagles. Kennedy used the name Mark Stone in his infiltration of the climate protest movement, and was known as ‘Flash’ to campaigners.
Wilson started her relationship with Kennedy in 2003 when she was involved in organising protests against a summit of G8 leaders in Scotland.