Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Ex-soldier to be charged in Bloody Sunday killings

Bloody Sunday The Bloody Sunday Memorial in Derry's Bogside
Jeannette Daniel | 14 March, 2019, 18:42

Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service will announce on Thursday whether it will seek prosecutions over the so-called Bloody Sunday killings in 1972.

"The decision to prosecute just one ex-soldier does not change the fact that Bloody Sunday was a massacre of innocents", Sinn Fein's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill said in a statement.

An 18th soldier who was interviewed by police has since died.

Former British paratrooper Soldier F reportedly joined the Parachute Regiment in 1966.

Over time, though, the victims' families got organized, campaigned for justice and eventually, more than 25 years after the killings, when a peace deal was signed in Northern Ireland, the British government committed to a full-scale inquiry. "In these cases the evidential test is not met".

Hugh Gilmore (third left) clutching his stomach after he was shot during Bloody Sunday. One of the injured died months later from an inoperable tumour and some consider him the 14th fatality.

Relatives of the Bloody Sunday families were visibly upset after learning of the prosecution decisions at a city centre hotel on Thursday morning.

"If you have a family member and something like that happens to them. your brother, your poor dead brother is treated like he never existed, that he wasn't worth justice, what every one of us are entitled to".

Cameron Bloody Sunday

A decade-long investigation by Lord Saville of Newdigate concluded that the troops killed protesters who posed no threat, and seriously criticised the decision to send them into the Bogside estate in vehicles.

Following the publication of the Saville report in 2010, then prime minister David Cameron apologised for the Army's actions, branding them "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Papers before prosecutors included 668 witness statements and numerous photos, video and audio evidence.

The Northern Ireland Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Agnew, informed victim's families of the decision at a private meeting this morning.

Police also investigated whether any suspects perjured themselves while giving evidence to the long-running Bloody Sunday inquiry.

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".

"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".

"I wish to clearly state that where a decision has been reached not to prosecute, that this is in no way diminishes any finding by the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that those killed or injured were not posing a threat to any of the soldiers".

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