Control Orders (11 December 2008 - 10 March 2009)

Home Department written statement – made on 12th March 2009.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security)

Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of the control order powers during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

Control orders continue to be an essential tool to protect the public from terrorism, particularly where it is not possible to prosecute individuals for terrorism-related activity and, in the case of foreign nationals, where they cannot be removed from the UK.

As stated in previous quarterly statements on control orders, control order obligations are tailored to the individual concerned and are based on the terrorism-related risk that each individual poses. Each control order is kept under regular review to ensure that obligations remain necessary and proportionate. The Home Office continues to hold control order review groups (CORGs) every quarter, with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under regular and formal review and to facilitate a review of appropriate exit strategies. The CORGs for this quarter fall outside of this reporting period and will be covered in the next report. However meetings were held in relation to the control orders in force within this reporting period on an ad hoc basis as specific issues arose.

During the period 11 December 2008 to 10 March 2009, two non-derogating control orders were made and served; three non-derogating control orders were made but not served; and two control orders were renewed in accordance with section 2(6) of the 2005 Act.

In total, 17 control orders are currently in force, six of which are in respect of British citizens. Five individuals subject to a control order live in the Metropolitan Police Service area; the remaining individuals live in other police force areas. All of these control orders are non-derogating. One individual has been charged with breaching a control order obligation; no prosecutions for breaching a control order were completed during this reporting period.

During this reporting period, 62 modifications of control order obligations were made. Twenty-one requests to modify control order obligations were refused. A right of appeal is provided for by section 10(1) of the 2005 Act against a decision by the Secretary of State to renew a non-derogating control order or to modify an obligation imposed by a non-derogating control order without consent. One appeal has been lodged with the High Court by a controlled person in relation to the renewal of a control order during this reporting period. A right of appeal is also provided for by section 10(3) of the 2005 Act against decisions by the Secretary of State to refuse a request by a controlled person to revoke their order and/or to modify any obligation under the order. One appeal has been lodged with the High Court by a controlled person relating to a refusal to modify his control order.

Three judgments have been handed down by the High Court in control order cases during this reporting period in relation to substantive reviews of the individual control orders under section 3(10) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. In Secretary of State for the Home Department v. AR a judgment was handed down on 19 December 2008. The court ruled in favour of the Secretary of State and upheld the control order and all of the obligations. A judgment was handed down in the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v. AU on 20 January 2009. The court ruled in favour of the Secretary of State and upheld the control order and all of the obligations. In Secretary of State for the Home Department v. GG & NN a judgment was handed down on 12 February 2009. In the case of NN, the court quashed the renewal of NN's control order. (The quashing took effect on 24 November 2008 as set out in the last quarterly statement.) In the case of GG, the court upheld the control order, quashed one obligation and ordered that two further obligations be modified. The Secretary of State has appealed the court's decision to quash one of the obligations.

Two controlled persons applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against High Court judgments in the substantive reviews of their control orders in this reporting period.

A judgment was handed down by the Court of Appeal in the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v. Abu Rideh on 17 December 2008 in which the appeal made by the Secretary of State was stayed.

The House of Lords heard the appeals in the cases of AE, AF and AN between 3 and 9 March 2009. The outcome of that hearing will be reported when judgment is available.

Full judgments are available at: http://www.bailii.org/.