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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taser guns 'weapons of torture'

September 25, 2008
BBC News

Lawyers described the Taser as a torture weapon

Taser stun guns have been described as torture weapons and a judge has been urged to ban them immediately.

Lawyers acting for an unnamed Belfast child have won the right to a judicial review of the Police Service of Northern Ireland using the weapons.

On Thursday, they asked for an interim order at Northern Ireland's High Court banning their use until after the outcome of the hearing in January.

They argued their medical effect on "vulnerable people" remains unclear.

Twelve of the Taser stun guns were bought by the PSNI in January for use in a pilot scheme. Since then the weapon has been used once.

A lawyer described stun guns as "weapons of torture" and claimed that a proper equality impact assessment had not been carried out.

"The use of this weapon relies on pain as a means of ensuring compliance. Under UN conventions there can be no lawful reason for the use of torture," she said.

Lawyers for the police said it was about balancing the risk to the public and the target.

Mr Justice Morgan adjourned the hearing until a copy of the relevant equality impact assessment could be provided to the court.

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