Belfast Telegraph

MoD chief may have prejudiced trial: family

By Michael McHugh

Solicitors for one of the Bloody Sunday families have contacted the Attorney General for Northern Ireland claiming Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson may have jeopardised the chances of a fair trial of a soldier due to be charged with murder.

Lawyers acting for the family of William Nash, who were told that no soldier will face prosecution over his death, argued that Mr Williamson's comments may be in contempt of court.

Yesterday Mr Williamson confirmed the Ministry of Defence would support Soldier F - the only one to face charges - and pay all legal costs.

He added: "The Ministry of Defence is working across Government to drive through a new package of safeguards to ensure our Armed Forces are not unfairly treated.

"And the Government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues.

"Our serving and former personnel cannot live in constant fear of prosecution."

Lawyers have taken issue with the phrase referring to efforts to ensure that members of the armed forces "are not unfairly treated".

In their letter to the Attorney General they say it appears "Mr Williamson seeks to assert that the decision to prosecute, and the subsequent prosecution, is in some way unfair or that the accused has been, or is being, unfairly treated".

Solicitor Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law said: "It is vital the legal process be allowed to function without attempts to influence it."

Belfast Telegraph


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