SDLP leader says families conducted themselves with 'astonishing dignity — Bloody Sunday

Lester Mason
March 16, 2019

The sole prosecution is seen as a "terrible disappointment" by some of the families of the 13 people killed.

Bloody Sunday is the nickname given to an incident that took place during a civil rights march on January 30, 1972.

Tourists stand in front of a mural depicting the Bloody Sunday events, in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, March 14, 2019.

The decision has led to polarised opinions underlining the extremely sensitive nature of the shootings and their consequences.

After decades of marching through the cold and the rain, under hail and winter sun, the Bloody Sunday families came together under grey skies yesterday to march in the hope of gaining justice for their loved ones.

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Soldier F also faces charges for the attempted murders of Patrick O'Donnell, Joseph Friel, Joe Mahon and Michael Quinn.

As with all military witnesses at the Saville Inquiry, the former paratrooper was granted anonymity as he gave evidence.

There was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction for the other 16 former soldiers, the Public Prosecution Service said.

"The Bloody Sunday families are not finished yet", he said.

"Their hearts must be broken", he said. We wanted to meet with them personally to explain the prosecution decisions taken and to help them understand the reasons.

Her sister Kate said they would appeal the decision.

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.

"Willie was not a stone-thrower, a bomber or a gunman".


"Saville said there were four soldiers - E, F, G or H - who could have fired at McKinney and another victim, Jim Wray".

At the Saville Inquiry, Soldier F admitted he had shot 17-year-old Michael Kelly - but he said that he had only fired at people with bombs or weapons.

Liam Wray, brother of victim James Wray, said he was relieved that an ex-soldier would be prosecuted for his brother's murder after 47 years. An 18th soldier died previous year.

"I wish to clearly state that where a decision has been reached not to prosecute, that this 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", Stephen Herron, the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, said as he announced the charges.

Soldier F's trial is expected to be before a so-called Diplock court, a no-jury trial introduced in Northern Ireland in 1972 in an attempt to prevent intimidation of jurors by terrorist groups.

"We will offer full legal and pastoral support to the individual affected by today's decision", Williamson said in a statement. 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".

"The Government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues".

A public inquiry conducted by a senior judge shortly after the deaths was branded a whitewash and a campaign was launched for a new public inquiry.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry took 12 years and cost nearly 200 million pounds (NZ$389 million).

A file was sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in November 2016. "In these circumstances, the evidential test for prosecution is not met". This massacre happened in Derry's Bogside on 30 January 1972.

The majority of demonstrators were instead directed towards Free Derry Corner in the Bogside.

"I was on the original march and it brings it all back to me again, this whole area, it was horrific". Some of the suspects could still face perjury charges.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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