In the Media

Solicitor acting for residents in fight against 'Olympics missiles'

PUBLISHED July 5, 2012

Thursday 05 July 2012 by John Hyde

Who? Kieran O'Rourke, 41, human rights partner at ­London firm Howe & Co.

Why is he in the news? Acting for residents at Fred Wigg Tower, an east London block of flats set to host an anti-aircraft missile system on its roof during the Olympics.

Residents want an immediate injunction and claim the decision breaches their right to family life and peaceful enjoyment of their homes under the European Convention on Human Rights. The Ministry of Defence says the missile system will provide reassurance and deter potential terrorists. A High Court ruling is expected on 9 July.

Thoughts on case: 'I can't think of another case where the military forced its weapon system on residential buildings. This is not anti-Olympics, this is saying there have been five years to make these plans so why now and why here? Residents are scared that this makes them more likely to be subject of a terrorist attack - al-Qaida won't have heard of Fred Wigg Tower before it was posted on the MoD website.'

Dealing with the media: 'The extent of international interest has astounded us - we've had calls from Russia and Australia. The interest comes from the fact ordinary people are being affected - this is not a closed bus lane, this is a missile system with high-powered radar on their roof.'

Career high: 'Winning the right for Gurkhas to settle in the UK. I knew Joanna Lumley's father had been saved by a Gurkha who later won the Victoria Cross. I posted on a military website asking for anyone who knew her, then had a call from Joanna on my mobile asking what she could do to help.'

Career low: 'I lost a case 11 years ago where my client was clearly a torture victim, but the court ruled that he be sent back to his home country. He showed the court burn marks on his back and that stays with me to this day.'