Northern Ireland

No-deal Brexit legal challenge dismissed by Belfast judge

Raymond McCord Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Raymond McCord's son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997

A judge at the High Court in Belfast has dismissed a legal challenge against a no-deal Brexit.

One of the three cases brought was by the victims' campaigner Raymond McCord who plans to appeal the decision.

The court heard arguments that a no-deal would have a negative effect on the peace process and endanger the Good Friday Agreement.

But the judge said the main aspects of the case were "inherently and unmistakeably political".

Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey also excluded a challenge against the suspension of Parliament because the issue formed the "centrepiece" of proceedings in England and Scotland.

The current five-week suspension of Parliament, a process known as proroguing, started in the early hours of Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Scotland's highest civil court ruled that Parliament's suspension is unlawful.

Analysis: Line drawn between politics and law

by Chris Page, BBC News Ireland correspondent

The judge's verdict, in essence, is that the matter he was asked to rule on should be dealt with by politicians, not the courts.

Lord Justice McCloskey said "virtually all of the assembled evidence belongs to the world of politics".

But with the cases heard in England and Scotland heading towards the UK Supreme Court, Raymond McCord and his lawyers feel the issues related to Northern Ireland should be examined there too.

After Thursday morning's hearing, Mr McCord's solicitor Ciaran O'Hare said that in the absence of a Stormont Executive, the most important way Northern Ireland could have a voice was for people to take action through the courts.

A UK government appeal against the ruling will be heard by the Supreme Court in London next week.

Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey added that the courts had to "respect certain boundaries".

An appeal hearing is likely to be held on Friday.

Image caption Raymond McCord junior was beaten to death before his body was dumped in a quarry near north Belfast in 1997

Mr McCord's 22-year-old son, Raymond junior, was murdered by the UVF in Belfast in 1997.

No one has ever been convicted of the former RAF man's murder.

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