Lawyers for the home secretary, John Reid, yesterday launched an attempt to save the control order regime to deal with terror suspects by accusing a high court judge of making basic errors in declaring that it breached human rights law.
Mr Justice Sullivan ruled last month that the home secretary had acted illegally in imposing control orders on six Iraqi suspected terrorists which meant they were banned from leaving their one-bedroom council flats for 18 hours a day.
Philip Sales, launching the attempt to overturn the ruling in the court of appeal, said yesterday that Mr Justice Sullivan had failed to distinguish between restrictions on liberty which were allowed under the human rights convention and "deprivation of liberty", which was not. The appeal was heard by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, with the Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, and Sir Igor Judge.
Among the restrictions faced by the Iraqis is that each is only allowed to use one landline telephone so it can be monitored by the security services. Mr Sales said that Mr Justice Sullivan's argument that mobile phones were now part of normal life and a ban on their use amounted to a deprivation of liberty was flawed.
In April the same high court judge ruled that imposing control orders was an "affront to justice" because it involved the home secretary acting without judicial authority. The appeal court will issue its rulings in both cases later.