Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Bloody Sunday: Saville witnesses who told lies may face perjury trial

Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday wave to crowds after reading a copy of the long-awaited Saville Inquiry report, outside the Guildhall
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
A youth is arrested at gunpoint by a Paratrooper in Derry on Bloody Sunday Picture by Fred Hoare

Perjury charges could be brought against a number of witnesses who provided evidence to the Bloody Sunday inquiry, it has emerged.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said Lord Saville’s report refers to certain witnesses providing evidence to the inquiry which they knew to be false.

A PPS spokeswoman said that since some of that evidence was given to the inquiry sitting in London, the PPS is now in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service “in regard to any possible offences that arise”.

The Saville report into the atrocity in Londonderry in 1972 said some of the British soldiers who opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration later lied about their actions.

Some families of victims have said they are keen for criminal charges to be brought following Lord Saville’s report. If further legal action is brought, it could increase divisions between nationalists and unionists, who are opposed to any further legal action being taken.

Yesterday a former British commander said the paratroopers acted like Nazi stormtroopers.

Colonel Richard Kemp said his immediate feeling on hearing the findings of the Saville Inquiry was that guilty soldiers should be jailed for a long time.

“I think that the actions we have heard described are much more like the actions of Nazi stormtroopers than British paratroopers,” he said.

Col Kemp, who commanded all British troops in Afghanistan, thought the report into the massacre should see the full wrath of the law brought down on the killers.

David Cameron’s public apology on Tuesday for what he described as the “shocking” events on Bloody Sunday has split opinion within the Army.

On an unofficial Army internet forum many soldiers have posted their opposition to the Prime Minister’s apology.

“Cameron does not speak for me. And this on the day we lose two more in Afghan,” one said.

Another added: “Very disappointing bit of grovelling from Cameron. I thought we had left the meaningless apologies behind us when the previous shower were turfed out.”

One soldier said: “Got quite emotional when I saw the news. Sold out again. The whole Army has been insulted. Don’t know why we bothered.”

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