Northern Ireland news

Solicitor for Aidan McAnespie family says Karen Bradley comments mean juries cannot hear soldier trials

Aidan McAnespie was shot dead by the British army in Co Tyrone in February 1988
Connla Young

A solicitor acting for the family of Aidan McAnespie has said future trials involving security force members must be held in non-jury 'Diplock' courts.

Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, was speaking after Secretary of State Karen Bradley said state killings during the Troubles were “not crimes”.

Mr McAnespie was shot dead close to a checkpoint on the border at Aughnacloy in Co Tyrone in February 1988 as he made his way to Aghaloo GAC's grounds.

Last year the Public Prosecution Service revealed that former Grenadier Guardsman David Jonathan Holden was to face fresh charges of gross negligence manslaughter.

It has not yet been decided if the case will be held in front of a jury.

In the past other British soldiers have challenged decisions to try them before a single judge.

Darragh Mackin

Mr Mackin said following Ms Bradley’s comments “there can be no argument that all of the pending trials must be Diplock because any chance of a jury being objective is now gone”.

He claimed the remarks could also have other legal consequences.

“There is a real and imminent risk of contempt of court,” he said.

“When the Secretary of State of a jurisdiction speaks out like this she is usurping the role of a jury and usurping the role of a court.”

Mr Mackin added that Ms Bradley should now resign.

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