August court date set for British Army Paratropper double murder trail on Bloody Sunday

Soldier F’ faces charges for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney

A motorcyclist at a rally in London supported by British Army Veterans last April criticising the prosecution of Soldier F. Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

A motorcyclist at a rally in London supported by British army veterans last April criticising the prosecution of Soldier F. Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

A former British army paratrooper facing prosecution for two murders and four attempted murders on Bloody Sunday is expected to appear in court in Derry in August.

The Army veteran — a former lance corporal in the Parachute Regiment known only as Soldier F — faces charges for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney in Derry in 1972.

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

Relatives have been informed by Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) that it is anticipated that Soldier F will make his first court appearance on a date in August at the magistrates’ court in Derry.

A PPS spokeswoman said: “Significant progress has been made on the process of preparing the large volume of court papers required before a summons can issue to Soldier F.

“While this complex process is at an advanced stage, the public prosecution service has had to request some further material from police before the necessary papers can be finalised.

“Based on the estimated time required for this material to be provided, the prosecution team expects to be in a position to issue a summons to the defendant next month.

“It is therefore envisaged at this stage that Soldier F will make his first court appearance on a date in August, at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court.

“In line with our commitment to keep the families informed of all developments, the PPS wrote to those involved last week with this latest timetable.”

Ciaran Shiels, from Madden & Finucane solicitors — which represents Bloody Sunday families, said: “We have requested a timetable in relation to the prosecutions and we had previously made submissions that Soldier F should face criminal proceedings in Derry as it was in this city where the crimes we say he committed took place.”

Thirteen civil rights demonstrators were shot dead on January 30th 1972, on one of the most notorious days of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Bloody Sunday families vowed to continue their campaign for justice after it was announced in March that only one former paratrooper — Soldier F — is to be prosecuted over the shootings.

Relatives of those who died reacted with a mix of vindication, disappointment and defiance.

As well as the 13 who died on the day, 15 others were shot and injured.

One of the injured died months later from an inoperable tumour and some consider him the 14th fatality.

Prosecutors had been considering evidence in relation to potential counts of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous injury with intent.

Murdering Bastards

A murder investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) followed the £195 million inquiry and files on 18 soldiers were submitted to prosecutors in 2016 and 2017 for consideration.

Butchers Apron

One has since died. Four other soldiers included in the Saville Report died before police had completed their investigation.

Papers before prosecutors included 668 witness statements and numerous photos, video and audio evidence. – PA

With many thanks to: The Irish Times for the original story

Bloody Sunday: Soldier F to be summonsed to Derry Courthouse next month

The only soldier to be charged with murder and attempted murder in relation to Bloody Sunday will be summonsed to appear at Derry courthouse next month, the Derry News can reveal.

The former member of the Parachute Regiment, known only as Soldier F will be formally charged with two counts of murder in relation to James Wray and William McKinney. He will also face four counts of attempted murder in relation to the late Patrick O’Donnell and Michael Quinn, Joseph Friel and Joseph Mahon.

Ciaran Shiels of Madden and Finucane Solicitors revealed the news a short while ago and said that the Public Prosecution Service has now confirmed in writing to his client Mickey McKinney (brother of William McKinney) that the additional material which had been outstanding from the PSNI was now timetabled to be sent to the PPS very soon.

Mr Shiels said: “Upon consideration of this material, the PPS will consider whether to add this to the Committal Papers that are being currently prepared.

Shame Féin

“We have requested a timetable in relation to the prosecutions and we had previously made submissions that Soldier F should face criminal proceedings in Derry as it was in this County Court Division where the crimes we say he committed took place.

Murdering Bastards

“We can now confirm the that the Committal Papers for Soldier F’s Preliminary Enquiry will be served on him and his lawyers in next month and further that he will be summonsed to appear in Derry District Judges Court a date to be fixed in August 2019.”

On March 14 this year, the PPS announced that Soldier F would face the charges having considered the prosecution of 18 former soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA for their actions in the Bogside on January 30, 1972.

Relatives of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday expressed anger that only one soldier will face trial for the events of Bloody Sunday. Thirteen people were shot dead on the day in question 47 years ago.

Soldier F gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday in 2003 and admitted he had fired a total of 13 rounds.

His claims that those killed and wounded were “gunmen and bombers” were rejected by Lord Saville in his report. The Inquiry also concluded that there was “no doubt” that Soldier F had fired at father-of-six Paddy Doherty and that he had shot Bernard McGuigan as he went to Mr Doherty’s aid. Soldier F also admitted shooting 17-year-old Micheal Kelly but reiterated that he had fired only at those carrying bombs or guns.

Saville concluded that Patrick Doherty, Bernard McGuigan and Micheal Kelly were all unarmed.

With many thanks to: Derry Now and Eamon Sweeney for the original story

Follow this link to find out more: https://madden-finucane.com/2019/06/17/bloody-sunday-lance-corporal-f-prosecution-to-commence-in-derry-in-august-2019/

BSMC stands with the Ballymurphy families

The Bloody Sunday March Committee (BSMC) has urged those who can to travel from Derry to Belfast on Thursday to show solidarity with the families of the vicims of the Ballymurphy massacre.

Several BSMC members attended the inquest into the British Parachute Regiment, 1st Battallion, led slaughter of 10 innocent victims in West Belfast over three days in August 1971.

An 11th man later died from a heart attack as a result of being attacked by soldiers conducting the atrocities.

BSMC member Betty Doherty said: “Given our own experiences of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry here in Derry and given the stress and strain we know the Ballymurphy relatives are currently under we felt it was important for us to show our support by travelling to Belfast and standing shoulder to shoulder with them.”

The inquest has been sitting for over 60 days and in that time, it has heard evidence from over 100 people, including civilian witnesses, former senior members of the Parachute Regiment and also from rank and file soldiers of that regiment who participated in the para operation in Ballymurphy.

Ms. Doherty said: “Just like the relatives of all those murdered by the Paras here in Derry the Ballymurphy families have had to struggle long and hard to get to this point in their long campaign and we feel this small act of solidarity lets them know that people in Derry stand with them.”

The BSMC has asked people to travel to the Laganside Courts in Belfast this Thursday to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ballymurphy families who lost their loved ones at the hands of the same regiment that gunned down 13 people in Derry five months later.

Ms. Doherty said: “Now as the inquest moves towards its conclusion and expectations and pressure are inevitably heightened on the families we would ask people in Derry to travel to Belfast with us next Thursday, May 30, and show their support for them in their calls for truth and justice.”

With many thanks to the: Derry Journal for the original story

Ballymurphy familes forced to stand alone against Bloody Sunday soldier’s supporters in Belfast

Several hundred turned out to protest outside Belfast City Hall

Image: Justin Kernoghan

But two counter Republican protests were called off:

Meanwhile, the IRSP has called off a planned protest today, saying it had become aware that the City Hall event was being organised by people from the loyalist community.

Hardline republican party Saoradh said it had also dropped plans to hold a counter protest “following consultation with families affected by collusion and state murder, in addition to an internal membership discussion”.

Ballymurphy families countered a Belfast protest against the the prosecution of an Army veteran for double murder

 

 

Solider F is accused of two murders and four attempted murders on Bloody Sunday, 1972.

Hundreds gathered outside Belfast City Hall to call on the UK government to “enact protective legislation” to “safeguard” former British forces and police accused of crimes over the 30-year conflict.

But the families of those killed in disputed circumstances during the conflict have long campaigned for and support prosecutions.

Ballymurphy families hold counter protest for their loved ones Image: Justin Kernoghan

Ballymurphy Massacre group spokesman John Teggart said: “No one is above the law and justice must be served.

READ MORE
Ballymurphy inquest told Army officer suggested planting ammo on victims

“The fact that these crimes happened nearly 50 years ago is irrelevant. It might have been a long time ago, but the illegal acts of these soldiers is affecting the families to this day.”

Thousands of bikers recently took to the streets of London in a similar protest against the legal action against ‘Soldier F’ Photo taken: London Bridge
Former serviceman Dennis Hutchings, pictured above, who is due to be tried for attempted murder in connection with a fatal shooting in which he shot a vunruable man in the back in 1974, addressed the Belfast rally on the phone.

READ MORE British Army soldier to be prosecuted for murder of teenager shot dead during Troubles

He told supporters: “We need this to continue and it will continue.

“Eventually our politicians are going to have to listen because if they won’t we will bring this country to a standstill.” (Image: Justin Kernoghan)

 

With many thanks to: Belfast Live and Michael McHugh and Shauna Corr for the original story

Rally in Belfast in support of British Army murderers

A banner in support of ‘Soldier F’ charged with double murder on Bloody Sunday in Ballymacash in Lisburn. Picture by Matt Bohill

 

A RALLY will be held today in Belfast in support of British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The protest comes as Parachute Regiment flags and banners backing former troops have appeared in loyalist areas in recent weeks. And goes to prove there was collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British Crown Forces

 

The campaign has focused on a former Paratrooper known as ‘Soldier F’ who is to be charged with murdering two people during Bloody Sunday in January 1972.

BALLYMURPHY 1971 – BRITISH STATE MURDER FOR HIRE

Two groups, Paras Fight Back and NI Crown Forces Veterans for Justice (NICFV), have organised today’s protest – dubbed the ‘Rally for Justice’ – which will take place at the City Hall.

Lagan Valley SDLP assembly member Pat Catney has complained about a banner supporting ‘Soldier F’ put up in the Ballymacash district of Lisburn.

He said the banner, which is across a roadway, has been put up outside a polling station.

“We don’t need to be poking each other in the eye,” he said.

Mr Catney urged people to be “sensitive” as legal processes are currently underway including the Ballymurphy inquest.

“There is an inquest and court case and all we get is more flags and bunting and that’s not where we want to be.”

Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn also said the banner was designed to increase community tensions in the area.

Meanwhile, the IRSP has called off a planned protest today, saying it had become aware that the City Hall event was being organised by people from the loyalist community.

Hardline republican party Saoradh said it had also dropped plans to hold a counter protest “following consultation with families affected by collusion and state murder, in addition to an internal membership discussion”.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story

Up to 200 ex-soldiers and police facing Troubles investigations

Figure comes as rift opens between NIO and MoD over how to deal with historical enquiry investigations

Veterans protest against the persecution of ‘Soldier F’

 

As many as 200 former members of the British security forces are under official investigation for alleged criminal actions during the Troubles as a rift opens up between the Northern Ireland Office and the Ministry of Defence over how to deal with historical accusations.

There are at least three prosecutions against British soldiers under way. A former Parachute Regiment lance-corporal, identified only so far as “Soldier F”, is due to stand trial for murder and attempted murder for his role in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings. Altogether, it is understood that between 150 and 200 former soldiers and police are under investigation for alleged actions taken during the Troubles.

The figure, which is an MoD estimate, has surfaced as the government comes under intense pressure from Tory backbenchers – as well as thousands of current and former service personnel who protested last week against the prosecutions of troops over actions on Bloody Sunday and other occasions.

One veteran was told in a letter from his MP, a former security minister, that prosecutions of British soldiers were being driven by a “cultural Marxist hatred of our national history” on the part of the “liberal establishment”.

The comments were made by Sir John Hayes in a letter to a former soldier, who posted it on an official Facebook page being used to organise a march last Friday in support of troops facing charges over killings during Bloody Sunday and on other dates.

The MP’s language mirrors that of a former minister, Suella Braverman, who was criticised last month by a leading Jewish group and others for also using the term “cultural Marxism” in a reference to a conspiracy theory often associated with the far right and antisemitism.

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The hardline position taken by Hayes and other Tory backbenchers comes as more evidence emerged suggesting a split between different government departments over whether or not army veterans could be granted amnesty for alleged historical offences.

As the MoD and Northern Ireland Office pursue separate reviews and policy priorities, Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, has been trying to reassure service chiefs and veterans’ organisation

British Paratroopers having a good ole ‘knee’s up’

His department is currently preparing a bill for the Queen’s speech that would impose a statute of limitations on prosecutions relating to alleged offences committed outside the UK and dating back more than 10 years – unless there are exceptional circumstances or new evidence.

Murder is Murder the British Prime Minister of the Tory Party ever spoke

However, in correspondence seen by the Guardian, the Northern Ireland Office this month sought to reassure a Belfast-based campaign group that any scheme would not cover Northern Ireland.

Relatives For Justice had expressed alarm at a recent announcement in parliament by the armed forces minister Mark Lancaster that the MoD was working “closely with the Northern Ireland Office on new arrangements, including to ensure that our armed forces and police officers are not unfairly treated”.

The Northern Ireland Office told the group in an email that what Lancaster was referring to was not at odds with what the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, had said to them privately and what it said the MoD was “considering in an international context”.

    The two victims of the Parachute Regiment who Soldier F is charged with murdering but all the British Para’s we’re guilty of murder in the First Degree

“What we want is a way forward which provides for evidence of wrongdoing to be investigated and, where evidence exists, prosecutions to follow,” the Northern Ireland Office letter reiterated.

Paul O’Connor, director of the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry, which supports the families of Troubles’ victims, also recently had a meeting with Bradley at which he sought reassurances that there would be no amnesties for soldiers involved in the Troubles.

The British Secretary of State for the North of Ireland needs to step aside

“She was very clear that she would not introduce any amnesty and that the MoD was doing its own thing and that was about Iraq and Afghanistan,” he told the Guardian, adding that the MoD was “playing games but the problem is that is unsettling people in Northern Ireland”.

But in a reflection of the Tory right’s position on the issue, Hayes went as far as saying in his letter to the veteran that there should be no retrospective charges against any troops “irrespective of any actions they are alleged to have committed”.

His stance was praised by other veterans on the forum, where many angrily fulminated against a “betrayal” by MPs.

A UK government spokesperson said: “The system to investigate the past needs to change to provide better outcomes for victims and survivors of the Troubles and to also ensure members of our armed forces and police are not disproportionally affected. This is why we have consulted widely on the system in Northern Ireland.

“The 2017 manifesto made clear any approach to the past must be consistent with the rule of law. We have always said that we will not introduce amnesties or immunities from prosecution in Northern Ireland. The Ministry of Defence is currently looking at what more can be done to provide further legal protection to service personnel and veterans, including considering legislation.”

With many thanks to: The Guardian and Owen Boycott and Ben Quinn for the original story