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MP Kinahan's outrage at 'shameful' ruling to deny Hyde Park bomb families legal aid again

By Jonny Bell

A Northern Ireland MP who was best man to one of the soldiers killed in the IRA's Hyde Park bombing says the Government must intervene in the "shameful" decision to withhold legal aid from their families' campaign for justice.

Last year, the families of those killed launched a bid to take their own private prosecution against John Downey (65).

He was accused of murdering four soldiers and injuring 31 in the July 1982 bombing - which he denies.

The dead were 23-year-old Anthony Daly, 19-year-olds Simon Tipper and Jeffrey Young, and 36-year-old Roy Bright.

Seven horses were also killed in the atrocity, and another that was injured in the blast, Sefton, became a national hero.

In 2014 the case against Downey collapsed after it was revealed he had received a 'letter of comfort' in 2007 saying he was not wanted by any UK police force.

Desperate for justice, the families launched a campaign to take a private prosecution like the Omagh bomb families.

This week however, funding was again denied following an appeal.

The family's representative, Matthew Jury of London law firm McCue and Partners, told the Belfast Telegraph the decision was "shocking" but said they were hopeful of having it overturned.

UUP MP Danny Kinahan was the best man at the wedding of Lieutenant Anthony Daly - whom he had served alongside in the Blues and Royals regiment - just four weeks before the officer's death in the attack.

He commented: "I am extremely disappointed and angry another legal aid request has been refused. One of those who lost his life that dreadful day was Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young and it is his daughter, Sarah-Jane, who has been fighting for years now to bring a case against John Downey, so that evidence against him can be heard in open court.

"Just how much more suffering do the families have to endure?

"To deny legal aid to the families of the victims of the Hyde Park bombing, especially when one considers that it was the British Government which granted the so-called 'letters of comfort,' which prevented John Downey being questioned in connection with the Hyde Park bombing, is a truly shameful state of affairs."

Mr Kinahan continued: "Government must intervene to ensure that legal aid is provided.

"It is simply not good enough that the victims of terrorism have to fight every inch of the way for justice against the very legal system that should be helping them find out the truth and punish the guilty."

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