belfasttelegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

QC’s criticism of Bloody Sunday probe ‘an insult’

The brother of a man shot dead on Bloody Sunday has said he feels insulted after a top QC branded the Saville Inquiry an “unnecessary exercise”.

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper, a highly-respected barrister, author and campaigner, said Lord Saville’s probe into the 1972 massacre had been time-consuming and “inordinately” expensive.

His comments have been criticised as disrespectful and hurtful by relatives.

Michael McKinney from the Bloody Sunday Trust, whose brother William was one of the victims, said a price could not be put on the truth.

Mr Blom-Cooper, who previously represented the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association at the inquiry, made his remarks in an article for the legal journal Public Law.

He argues that by investigating each death in detail, Lord Saville ensured that the inquiry would be very lengthy and expensive.

He writes: “Was it necessary to target the individual soldiers and inflict on them individually the most serious criticism — as distinct from a collective responsibility — having regard to the ambit of an inquiry into an event 30 years ago, with the prospect of a lengthy investigation and commensurately high cost?”

He concludes that Saville’s approach “deprived the inquiry of a reasonably conducted investigation into what went wrong, systematically and operationally, on Bloody Sunday, instead of a protracted investigation towards affixing criminality or serious misconduct on individual participants among the military”.

Mr McKinney described the comments as insensitive.

“He (Blom-Cooper) is putting a price on it and saying that it’s far too costly, but personally I don’t care what it costs,” he added.

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