Northern Ireland news

Bloody Sunday families demand prosecutors move immediately against Soldier F

James Wray (left) and William McKinney were among 13 people shot dead at a civil rights march

THE Bloody Sunday families have demanded that prosecutors move immediately to resume the case against Soldier F following a High Court ruling quashing a Public Prosecution Service (PPS) decision to drop the case.

The ruling came just days after it was confirmed that another Bloody Sunday soldier has died of natural causes.

Soldier R, who died last week, was identified by the Saville Inquiry as having shot teenage victim, Jackie Duddy.

Delivering the ruling yesterday, the Lady Chief Justice said: "This is a rare occasion where we consider the decision should be quashed and reconsidered."

There was a broad welcome for the High Court decision.

However, the Bloody Sunday families also expressed disappointment that Judicial Reviews of decisions not to prosecute five other former soldiers had failed.

Michael McKinney, whose brother William was one of two victims allegedly shot dead by Soldier F, said he had mixed emotions.

“It’s bitter sweet. On the one hand, my family is delighted that the case against Soldier F is to continue. But we’re very disappointed for the other families who are not seeing justice for their loved ones,” Mr McKinney said.

He urged prosecutors to proceed quickly with the case.

He said it was with regret that his family was forced to bring the High Court proceedings but insisted the PPS had not engaged with them properly in dropping the case.

“We have been waiting for 50 years for justice for my brother, it’s time to get Soldier F into court,” he said.

Mr McKinney's solicitor, Ciaran Shiels said the PPS must re-institute proceedings against Soldier F and "secure his committal for trial in the Crown Court".

Liam Wray, whose brother Jim was also believed to be shot by Soldier F, said the decision was another step towards justice.

John Kelly, a brother of victim Michael Kelly, said all of the families were pleased with the Soldier F decision.

“We have always said that the prosecution of even one former soldier would be welcome although we are disappointed that the other 12 shooters from the day will not stand in a court,” he said.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the PPS decision to stop the case caused “deep hurt among victims and their families in Derry".

He said the PPS "must now seriously reconsider its decision to discontinue the prosecution".

He also offered his thoughts to the other families "who will be bitterly disappointed today".

"My thoughts are with the families of Jackie Duddy, Michael Kelly, John Young, Michael McDaid and Bernard McGuigan," he said.

"I know that they will continue to defend the dignity and memory of their family members."

Sinn Féin assembly member Pádraig Delargy said the decision highlighted the need for the Stormont House Agreement legacy mechanisms to be implemented in full.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said the decision showed the PPS had questions to answer over its decision to stop the case.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Herron said the High Court ruling would be considered in full.

“We will update the district judge and the parties directly involved in the Soldier F prosecution on the outcome of this process at the earliest opportunity,” Mr Herron said.

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