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Brighton man wins appeal to remove information from police database
An 88-year-old protester has won a Court of Appeal challenge in his battle to have details about his attendance at various protests removed from a police “extremism” database.
John Catt, of Withdean, Brighton, who is of good character, argued that, as he has not engaged in any criminality, the retention of data about him on the National Domestic Extremism Database was unlawful.
Last year, Mr Catt, who said his human rights were being violated, urged two judges at the High Court in London to order the removal of details about his activities from the database, which is operated by police chiefs.
But Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Irwin dismissed his judicial review claim, ruling his right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights was not infringed.
Yesterday (March 14), following a hearing at the Court of Appeal in January, Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Lord Justice McCombe, announced they had allowed Mr Catt’s appeal against that earlier decision.
The appeal judges said the inclusion of personal information relating to Mr Catt on the database “does involve an interference with his right to respect for his private life which requires justification”.
They said they had reached the conclusion the “interference with Mr Catt’s right to respect for his private life has not been justified and that the appeal must therefore be allowed”.
Mr Catt was not present in court for the ruling.
'No data control'
But he spoke to The Argus, saying: “It’s not data control, it is data out of control.
“This kind of thing has been going on for yours. What they tried to do during Nazi Germany and McCarthyism is still happening.
“Police surveillance like this deters democracy and deters lawful protest.”
Mr Catt added in a statement: “I hope this judgment will bring an end to the abusive and intimidatory monitoring of peaceful protesters by police forces nationwide.
“Police surveillance of this kind only serves to undermine our democracy and deter lawful protest.”
Mr Catt is a well known Brighton activist who fought a long legal battle against the Albion’s use of its former Withdean grounds, which adjoin his garden in Shepherds Croft, because of alleged noise and light pollution.
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