Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday soldier prosecution decision 'does not undermine Saville report' - PPS

The Public Prosecution Service has said its decision to prosecute one soldier did not undermine the Saville report into the events of the day.

The former paratrooper - soldier F - will be charged with two murders and four attempted murders, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced.

The soldier will face prosecution for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell.

Sixteen other veterans and two ex-members of the Official IRA, all of whom were investigated, will not face prosecution.

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

Prosecutor Stephen Herron said the decisions in no way undermined the findings of Saville - that those shot were not posing a threat to the soldiers.

He added: "I am mindful that it has been a long road for the families to reach this point and today will be another extremely difficult day for many of them. We wanted to meet with them personally to explain the prosecution decisions taken and to help them understand the reasons.

Relatives and supporters of the victims of the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings hold images of those who died as they march from the Bogside area of Derry. (Photo by Paul FAITH / AFP)PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Relatives and supporters of the victims of the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings hold images of those who died as they march from the Bogside area of Derry. (Photo by Paul FAITH / AFP)PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march through Bogside on March 14, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Today, the Public Prosecution Service will announce whether or not the soldiers accused of murdering the civilians killed on Bloody Sunday will face prosecution. Families of those killed gathered outside The Museum of Free Derry, yards from where the killings took place, before marching to the city centre hotel to hear the announcement.
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march begin their march on March 14, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Politicians Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill (left), Elisha McCallion, MP for Foyle, (centre) and SDLP's Colum Eastwood (right) join families before a march through the Bogside in Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, ahead of an announcement over the prosecution of 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those who died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, ahead of an announcement over the prosecution of 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march begin their march on March 14, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Bloody Sunday

"We have spent time with them this morning, given them detailed information and we are committed to further engagement over the coming period."

The PPS said that it recognised the "deep disappointment" felt by many families at the decision, but said that there was insignificant evidence to bring further charges.

"In respect of the other 18 suspects, including 16 former soldiers and two alleged Official IRA members, it has been concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction," PPS Director Herron said.

Liam Wray's brother Jim
Liam Wray's brother Jim

"In these circumstances the evidential test for prosecution is not met."

Mr Herron said that further consideration would be given to allegations of perjury.

"I am mindful that it has been a long road for the families to reach this point and today will be another extremely difficult day for many of them," he said.

"We wanted to meet with them personally to explain the prosecution decisions taken and to help them understand the reasons."

The landmark Saville Inquiry concluded in 2010 that all those killed or injured were innocent.

After the findings of the Saville Inquiry Prime Minister David Cameron issued an official apology in the House of Commons for Bloody Sunday, describing the killings as "unjustified and unjustifiable".

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