Prosecutors to reveal if Bloody Sunday soldiers will face charges
Prosecutors to reveal if Bloody Sunday soldiers will face charges
A soldier will face prosecution for the murders of Bloody Sunday victims James Wray and William McKinney
16 March, 2019, 14:50
He will also face charges for the attempted murder of four more - there was not enough evidence to prosecute the other former paratroopers.
Known as Soldier F, he will face charges for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell in Londonderry in 1972.
The announcement in Londonderry on Thursday by the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland was greeted with dismay by numerous victims' families, some of whom said they would mount a legal challenge.
The Irish Government has said its thoughts "are with the families of those who were killed and injured" by the Bloody Sunday shootings after just one of 16 soldiers were told they face criminal charges over what happened.
"The Bloody Sunday families are not finished yet", he said.
"We found no instances where it appeared to us that soldiers either were or might have been justified in firing", the published report stated.
But despite what had clearly for many had been an emotional and disappointing result, there was also solidarity within the families who received more hopeful news.
"Their victory is our victory", Kelly said.
Soldiers had been sent into the Bogside to deal with riots which followed a Derrymarch defying a ban on public processions.
Alan Barry, the founder of the group, spoke with the Belfast Telegraph and said that he wants former British soldiers to take to the streets to protest the decision made against the soldier.
Papers before prosecutors included 668 witness statements and numerous photos, video and audio evidence.
On 30 January 1972, civil rights protesters marched against internment without trial.
"We will give detailed consideration to the reasons provided for decisions not to prosecute the other soldiers, with a view to making further submissions to the Prosecution Service and we shall ultimately challenge in the High Court, by way of judicial review, any prosecutorial decision that does not withstand scrutiny", Mr. Shiels added.
He said: "We are indebted to those soldiers who served with courage and distinction to bring peace to Northern Ireland".
"The welfare of our former service personnel is of the utmost importance".
The Provisional IRA later broke away from the Official IRA and began a bloody campaign of bombings and assassinations of off-duty police officers and soldiers which only ended in 1994. This includes funding all his legal costs and providing welfare support.
The decision to prosecute "Soldier F" over Bloody Sunday almost 50 years ago sparked a bitter row over investigations into the Troubles, which lawyers warn could continue for years to come. And it is appalling that the British defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced in response to the Bloody Sunday decision that his government intends to "drive through a package of new safeguards to ensure our armed forces are not unfairly treated".
That is typical of a government which continues to cover up its role in the conflict and still delays the establishment of the legacy mechanisms agreed in the Stormont House agreement five years ago. "Our serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution", Mr. Williamson said.
After the release of the report, the British prime minister at the time, David Cameron, offered a formal apology on Britain's behalf.
The journey may have been much shorter than the well-trodden route undertaken by hundreds of thousands down the years on the anniversary of that fateful day, but the magnitude of the moment was lost on no-one as they gathered outside the Museum of Free Derry at Glenfada Park yesterday morning.
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