Veteran who urged ex-soldiers to boycott Ballymurphy process may face action
The coroner presiding over the Ballymurphy inquest will reveal what action will be taken against a veteran who urged soldiers to "suffer from a total memory loss" if called to give evidence.
Michael Mansfield QC, who represents a number of the victims' families, said his clients would "appreciate some action" against Alan Barry who made the plea on social media yesterday morning.
"If you are subpoenaed by the Ballymurphy Inquest then suffer from a total memory loss," the former soldier wrote on Twitter.
"Tell them you can barely remember what you did yesterday let alone 40 plus years ago.
"I'm sorry I can't remember, I'm sorry I can't remember!"
At the very same time, relatives of three victims were outlining the heartache they have endured as a result of the killings and their decades-long fight for justice.
Mr Mansfield said that while many consider Mr Barry, who is involved in the campaign group Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans (JFNIV), to be an "empty barrel", the coroner should examine the issue at her own discretion.
Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan said "nobody else needs to comment" on the issue as she vowed to "take up" the matter and get back to Mr Mansfield today.
It comes just one day after Mr Mansfield called for direct action over "widespread and deep" concern that British soldiers are boycotting the inquest at "a critical point".
"The appearance of a boycott is being articulated very clearly," he told the coroner on Tuesday.
He was speaking after Mr Barry advised soldiers involved in the Ballymurphy case not to co-operate with requests to attend the inquests.
Mr Mansfield said the warnings to soldiers present a serious risk of adverse inference.
Barrister Barry McDonald, who represents some of the other victims' families, said that at least 12 soldiers fired 117 shots into an area known as the Manse field on August 9, 1971.
However, he added that not one of the soldiers has provided a statement to the inquest.
"The soldiers who fired are simply refusing to co-operate with this inquest and are boycotting it," he added.
Mrs Justice Keegan previously expressed concern over the issue and issued a stark reminder that co-operation is key to her role.
"If people refuse to co-operate I have the power to subpoena witnesses or draw adverse inference," she said. "It is not permissible for people to discourage those who may have relevant information to come forward."