Ex-British soldier to be charged in Bloody Sunday murders

14 March, 2019, 18:38 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Bloody Sunday

PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.

A former British soldier will stand trial for firing on civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland in 1972, an event that came to be known as Bloody Sunday, prosecutors said.

A murder investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) followed the £195 million inquiry and files on 18 soldiers were submitted to prosecutors in 2016 and 2017 for consideration.

The British government said it would provide full legal support to the soldier who will face prosecution.

The UK Ministry of Defence has said its serving and former personnel can not live in constant fear of prosecution.

Stephen Herron, the director of public prosecutions said in a statement: "In these circumstances, the evidential test for prosecution is..."

Soldiers from the elite Parachute Regiment opened fire on Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, during an unauthorized march in the Bogside, a nationalist area of Londonderry.

Although rioting had become routine for Derry's youth, McCann describes the impact of Bloody Sunday as a game-changer in Northern Ireland.

The then UK Prime Minister David Cameron later apologised for the killings in the House of Commons, in a historic move which many former servicemen in the Bogside that day believed exonerated them.

Cameron Bloody Sunday

Alan Barry, from the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans campaign group, said he feared the paratroopers would face charges, accusing the justice system in Northern Ireland of being one-sided.

He added: "I am mindful that it has been a long road for the families to reach this point and today will be another extremely hard day for many of them".

"However, much of the material which was available for consideration by the Inquiry is not admissible in criminal proceedings, due to strict rules of evidence that apply", he said.

Mr Herron said the decisions in no way undermined the findings of Saville - that those shot were not posing a threat to the soldiers.

"We recognize the deep disappointment felt by many of those we met with today", he said. "However, that does not mean that we do not have compassion for all those who are affected by our decisions".

"We are making a summary of the reasons for our decisions available today to provide assurance to the public that our statutory responsibility was undertaken in this case with absolute integrity and impartiality, without fear or favour".

Linda Nash, the brother of William Nash, a 19-year-old killed on the day, was tearful when she emerged from the hotel.

He added: "The Bloody Sunday families are not finished yet".

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