A DECISION not to prosecute 15 British soldiers in connections with events on Bloody Sunday in 1972 has been upheld by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in Northern Ireland.
The PPS communicated its decision this morning following a review of a decision not to prosecute 15 former soldiers.
The PPS announced in March 2019 that one former member of the Parachute Regiment, known only as Soldier F, would face charges of murder and attempted murder.
Soldier F has been charged with the murder of James Wray and William McKinney in Derry on January 30, 1972.
He is also accused of the attempted murders of Patrick O’Donnell, Joseph Friel, Joe Mahon and Michael Quinn. He faces a seventh supporting charge of the attempted murder of a person or persons unknown on the day.
The PPS said at the time that no further legal actions were planned – and that decision has now been upheld.
Assistant senior director Marianne O’Kane said that the Test for Prosecution was not met on evidential grounds to prosecute any of the 15 soldiers in connection with either specific deaths or injuries.
“In March 2019, the PPS engaged extensively with the families of those killed and injured on Bloody Sunday to explain the reasons why the original decision-maker concluded that the available evidence did not meet the Test for Prosecution for all but one suspect reported,” Ms O’Kane said in a statement.
“Given the importance of these decisions to all affected by them, and the extensive public interest in the events of Bloody Sunday, the deep disappointment felt by many families at that time was wholly understandable.
“This was despite assurances received from the PPS that its decision-making had been conducted in an independent, fair and impartial manner.
“It was therefore also understandable that a number of the bereaved families and injured victims subsequently exercised their right to request a review of decisions relating to 15 of those suspects originally reported.
“The reviews process began substantively in November 2019, after receipt of all legal submissions, and involved applying the Test for Prosecution afresh to all available evidence submitted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) from 2016-17.
“I have concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction of any of the 15 soldiers who were the subjects of the reviews.
“Accordingly, the decisions not to prosecute these 15 individuals all stand.”
Thirteen unarmed civilians died when British soldiers opened fire on January 30, 1972 and a 14th person died later from his injuries.Tags: