Move to end anonymity of soldier in shooting inquest opposed by lawyer
An application to lift the anonymity order granted to a soldier giving evidence in the Manus Deery inquest has met with strong opposition.
The move came as the hearing into the death of the 15-year-old, shot in disputed circumstances by the Army in Londonderry in 1972, continued yesterday.
Fiona Doherty, a barrister acting for the Deery family, asked coroner Adrian Colton to "revisit" the anonymity order given to the man known as Soldier B because the risks posed to him at the time he attended court no longer existed.
She said the possible risks to Soldier B highlighted in an assessment prior to his appearance at the inquest arose because he would be in Northern Ireland, even though at that time she also argued that "risk could have been managed".
She pointed out that as there is "no evidence he lives in Northern Ireland, comes from Northern Ireland or has any intention of coming to Northern Ireland in the future", there was no longer any risk to Soldier B.
She also said there was no chance of him being recalled to give further evidence to the inquest and he had been screened from public view during his time in the witness box.
Soldier B was with a fellow soldier identified during the inquest as William Glasgow, who died in 2001.
They were in an observation post on Derry's Walls overlooking the Bogside on the night Manus Deery was shot and both said they saw a gunman running into an alleyway.
This inquest is viewed as significant because it is the first in a number of legacy inquests which may also involve former soldiers giving evidence.
Objecting to Ms Doherty's application, the barrister for the MoD and PSNI, Martin Wolfe, said that although he was aware of her intention to request that Soldier B is identified, he had not raised the issue with Soldier B directly nor taken instruction from him.
Mr Wolfe said anonymity granted "protective measures which provided a calming effect on the former soldier" and removing it would be "like taking the rug from under him."
He said it would "smack of dishonesty and unfairness, which as we begin this process may impact on other soldiers".
Mr Wolfe also referred to early reports in a number of media outlets where it was reported erroneously that Soldier B had given the order to fire on Manus Deery.
Gerry McAlinden, barrister for the coroner, said he was also opposed to the application because "the interests of justice would not be served".
Mr Colton reserved judgment on the matter until today.