Concerns raised about anonymity for Soldier F

Gerry Duddy, Ciaran Shiels, solicitor, and Michael McKinney  DER1119GS-024
Gerry Duddy, Ciaran Shiels, solicitor, and Michael McKinney DER1119GS-024

A solicitor representing the families of Bloody Sunday victims has written to the Public Prosecution Service to highlight concerns about the imposition of an anonymity order for Soldier F.

Ciaran Shiels, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, represents the family of William McKinney and the four people Soldier F has been charged with attempting to murder on January 30, 1972.

Soldier F is accused of the murder of James Wray and William McKinney on January 30, 1972.

He is further accused of the attempted murder of Joseph Friel, Joseph Mahon, Michael Quinn and Patrick O’Donnell on Bloody Sunday.

The case was first mention in the former Paratrooper’s absence in September, when the interim anonymity order was granted.

In a letter to the PPS, Mr Shiels said the next of kin are ‘unsurprisingly concerned about the imposition of this anonymity order which is viewed as a clear interference with and departure from the principles of open justice’.

He added: “With the exception of the prosecutions involving the murders of Joe McCann and Daniel Hegarty, we are unaware of any other cases in which former or serving members of the British Army were prosecuted with the benefit of anonymity orders, in either interim or final form.”

The solicitor said Soldier’s F’s true identity ‘has been firmly in the public domain in Derry and beyond for a period in excess of 20 years’.

He added that in this period ‘no harm has befell Soldier F’ and queried whether the security forces have provided any form of risk assessment ‘to advise if the risk to Soldier F’s life would increase if he was prosecuted without anonymity’.

Mr Shiels asked for the PPS to provide ‘detailed reasons for the granting of an interim anonymity order in this matter’.

The letter was also sent to District Judge Barney McElholm and also to Soldier F’s legal representatives.