A Derry teenager has lost a Supreme Court battle against the PSNI for publishing photographs of children believed to be involved in riots.
The teenager was 14-years-old when he was ‘involved in serious rioting’ at an interface area of the city in July 2010.
CCTV images of him taken in the course of rioting were published in the Derry Journal and another local newspaper as part of the police campaign ‘Operation Exposure’.
This was designed to identify individuals involved in the riots and to discourage further sectarian rioting.
The teenager, who is now 18, and his parents complained that the publication of the images breached his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.
The Supreme Court dismissed the application and ruled in favour of the PSNI.
They found that the publication of the images did interfere with the teenager’s right to a private life.
However, they ruled this interference was ‘justified’ because it was necessary for the administration of justice.
The Supreme Court said that the police were entitled to disclose the images under the Data Protection Act 1998 as the ‘publication was for the purposes of the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension and prosecution of offenders’.
The judges found that the publication of the images ‘struck a fair balance between the interests of the appellant and the community’.
They added: ‘The Appellant stood to benefit from being diverted from criminal activity, as did his community from the prevention of crime and apprehension of offenders’.