Decision not to prosecute Soldier F for Bloody Sunday murders has been quashed

Bloody Sunday Derry 1972
Support us and go ad-free

A decision by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to discontinue a murder prosecution of Soldier F for two deaths on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 has been quashed at the High Court in Belfast.

Delivering the ruling, Lady Chief Justice Siobhan McKeegan said the decision by the PPS not to continue the prosecution “crossed the threshold of irrationality”.

Case collapsed

The PPS announced last year it was discontinuing the prosecution of Soldier F for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney. This came amid concerns the case could collapse in light of a separate court ruling on the admissibility of evidence which caused the collapse of another Troubles (name for the 30-year conflict in Ireland) murder trial involving two military veterans.

The McKinney family then launched a judicial review to challenge the PPS decision.

Bloody Sunday 50th anniversary
Flowers at a Bloody Sunday memorial (Brian Lawless/PA)

Campaigners react

Following the High Court decision, campaigners expressed their delight while also acknowledging there’s still some way to go. They restated that their quest for justice will continue:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

“There has already been considerable delay”

Delivering the verdict on Wednesday, the Lady Chief Justice said:

We consider that the decision crosses the threshold of irrationality where it simply does not add up, or in other words there is an error of reasoning which robs the decision of logic.

It follows that the matter should remain with the PPS to reconsider the decision.

There has already been considerable delay in the criminal process and so it may be that the swiftest and most effective course is actually for the district judge to be asked to rule on the admissibility issue in the first instance.

It may be that public confidence in the interests of justice are best served by a definitive judicial determination on this issue by a court properly seized of the merits.

The PPS will now have to decide on the next steps.

However, judicial reviews taken by a number of other Bloody Sunday families to challenge the PPS not to take prosecutions against five other veterans were dismissed by the court. The Lady Chief Justice said she considered there was “no error in law” in these decisions.

Bloody Sunday was one of the darkest days in the North of Ireland’s history. British soldiers shot dead 13 civil rights protesters in the Bogside area of Derry with a 14th person dying four months later.

Featured image via – History is Happening/YouTube Screengrab On Demand News – YouTube screengrab

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us