Matrix leads challenge over detention of Guardian journalist’s partner

Matrix Chambers’ Matthew Ryder QC has been instructed to challenge the detention of the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda, under the Terrorism Act.

The challenge has been launched amid a storm of controversy over Miranda’s detention at Heathrow Airport on Sunday, where he was held for nine hours. The Brazilian was held at the airport on his way from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro, where he lives with Greenwald. The journalist has led the Guardian’s reporting of leaked information from US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Greenwald told the New York Times that his partner had been in Berlin to act as a courier to exchange documents related to his research with a filmmaker in the city. He was also carrying files containing information from Snowden to pass back to Greenwald.

Miranda was held under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas. It allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals. He was later released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

Bindmans associate Gwen Morgan has now been instructed to take action to prevent police from examining the electronic items seized and agree not to disclose the contents.

This morning Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the materials revealed fundamantal concerns about the powers of the state and that they raised important public issues.

The Home Office, however, has defended the decision to detain Miranda, saying in a statement police must act if they think someone has “stolen information that would help terrorism”.

Ryder, who was called to the bar in 1992 and took silk in 2010, has a practice that spans both civil and criminal work. He specialises in police law and in 2011 was instructed alongside Michael Mansfield QC to represent former Metropolitan Police commander Ali Dizaei in a challenge against his conviction for perverting the course of justice.

Last year he represented Carina Trimingham, the partner of former energy secretary Chris Huhne, in her claim of harassment and breach of privacy by the Daily Mail. The claim was rejected.

Ryder will lead Matrix barrister Eddie Craven in the case.