08 Aug 2022

Bloody Sunday: Solicitors firm assert that Bloody Sunday soldier should appear in Derry court to be charged


The firm of solicitors who represent many of the family of the  Bloody Sunday victims have requested that the soldier facing charges in relation to murder and attempted murder on the day in question makes his first appearance in Derry’s courthouse also without “the benefit of anonymity.”

One week after the announcement that a single soldier is to face murder charges in relation to the events of January 30, 1972 legal firm Madden & Finucane have also requested that the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) asking them how they intend to progress the prosecution of Lance Corporal F.

The soldier will face murder charges in relation to William McKinney and Jim Wray and attempted murder charges in relation to Joe Mahon, Joe Friel, Patsy O’Donnell and Michael Quinn.

The letter to the PPS signed by solicitor Ciaran Shiels states: “We would be grateful if you would confirm how the PPS intend to take the prosecution of the defendant, formerly known as Lance Corporal F forward.”

The letter also asks the PPS to confirm if Lance Corporal F is required to attend a police station to be formally charged with the alleged offences.

It further asks the PPS: “Please also confirm the date upon which the defendant shall first appear in court charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder.

“We assume that this first appearance shall be at Derry Magistrates Court given that the offences with which the defendant is charged happened within 250 yards of Derry Courthouse. If we are incorrect to assume so, please set out the full and precise reasons for your decision requiring the defendant to appear at an alternative court.”

The communication to the PPS from Madden & Finucane also contends that the guarantee of anonymity given to soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday now be dropped in the case of Lance Corporal F.

The letter states: “ We further assume that the defendant shall be charged and prosecuted for these most serious of offences without the benefit of anonymity, to ensure that this prosecution is conducted in a fair, open, transparent – and most importantly - public manner.

“We anticipate that the PPS is very much aware that the decisions communicated by it on 14 March to the families and wounded that we represent have caused profound disappointment and shock, not just to those directly affected, but also to much of the wider community in Derry and beyond.

“We need not remind you of the basic facts in this case: 108 high velocity rounds were fired by identified individuals within 1 Para; 14 innocent civilians were murdered; a similar number were injured; yet only one defendant is to be prosecuted.”

The letter from Madden & Finucane also says that there are now outlining the basis of a judicial review into last week’s decision by the PPS and states: “Finally, we are continuing to give close scrutiny to the decisions reached in cases not to prosecute other soldiers (including this defendant for at least three other murders and two attempted murders) and shall return to you with grounds for a review of such decisions in the coming days.

“You are no doubt aware from our initial response to the decisions communicated by your office on 14 March that we fully intend to challenge decisions not to prosecute other soldiers for murder and attempted murder by way of judicial review in the High Court.”

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