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Bloody Sunday legal challenge from ex-paratroopers mulled by High Court judge

Published 12/11/2015

Seven paratroopers face questioning over the 1972 shootings
Seven paratroopers face questioning over the 1972 shootings

A High Court judge is considering whether seven former paratroopers facing questioning over the 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings are entitled to launch a legal challenge against the police.

A judge sitting in private in London is analysing papers in the case.

The seven - referred to as B, N, O, Q, R, U and V - want to challenge the way in which Police Service of Northern Ireland detectives are conducting their historical inquiry.

Mr Justice Ouseley will have to decide whether or not the soldiers have "an arguable case" to go to a full hearing.

Their written arguments were submitted by law firm Devonshires Solicitors, identifying them through letters of the alphabet given to the soldiers during the Saville inquiry into the deaths of 14 civil rights protesters in Londonderry.

The legal action follows a decision by Bloody Sunday investigators to arrest a 66-year-old former lance corporal.

He was released by the PSNI on Wednesday evening after he was interviewed in Belfast for several days.

Thirteen people were killed by members of the Parachute Regiment on the day of the incident in Derry's Bogside. Another victim of the shootings died in hospital four months later.

Police in Northern Ireland launched a murder investigation in 2012 - a probe initiated after a Government-commissioned inquiry, undertaken by Lord Saville, found that none of the victims was posing a threat to soldiers when they were shot.

Following the publication of the Saville report in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the Army's actions, branding them "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.
Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.
A young Fr Edward Daly (now Bishop Daly) carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers
Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
A scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.
30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.
William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.
Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings
A protest parade in was staged in Londonderry in January to mark the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday
Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
:Bloody Sunday.
Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings
Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. January 1972
Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary's, Creggan. 2/2/1972.
Michael Kelly who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, which became known as Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
JAMES WRAY IN HIS HOME IN THE BOGSIDE DERRY HOLDING THE COAT WITH BULLIET HOLES IN THAT HIS SON ALSO CALLED JAMES WRAY WAS KILLED ON BLOODY SUNDAY
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan. They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street. 31/1/1972
Bloody Sunday 1972
Linda Nash carries flowers with the number 14 inscribed during yesterdays annual Bloody Sunday Parade in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12
A memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday in the Bogside area of Derry
The memorial to the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday in Derry rises from among the sea of umbrellas as all the families came together in an ecumenical service. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights mark.The service included contributions from Father Michael Canny and Reverend David Latimer, left. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12

In September, the PSNI told bereaved families they intended to interview a number of former soldiers about their involvement on the day.

On Tuesday, detectives made their first arrest in the case when they detained a 66-year-old former paratrooper in Co Antrim.

The pensioner was released on bail on Wednesday night pending further police enquiries.

It is understood the pensioner was arrested on suspicion of the murders of William Nash, 19, John Young, 17, and Michael McDaid, 20, all of whom were shot dead in close proximity to one another at a rubble barricade on Rossville Street.

It is believed the former soldier was also questioned about the attempted murder of William Nash's father Alexander. Mr Nash came to the barrier to save his son but was shot in the arm and body.

It is understood the soldier gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry under the cipher Lance Corporal J.

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