‘Sunday’ relative welcomes court quashing of decision to discontinue Soldier F case

A Bloody Sunday relative has welcomed a decision by the High Court in Belfast to quash a decision by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to discontinue the case against the British soldier accused of murdering his brother.

Mickey McKinney.
Mickey McKinney.

The PPS said in 2021 that it was seeking to drop the case against Soldier F after reviewing the evidence.

But the High Court has now said that decision should be reconsidered.

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Soldier F had been facing trial for the murders of William McKinney and James Wray, plus five counts of attempted murder, in Derry on January 30, 1972.

James Wray and William McKinney.

In her ruling, Lady Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan said the PPS must reconsider its decision, which it based on concerns over the admissibility of evidence in the case.

William McKinney’s brother, Mickey, said he was delighted for his own family and for the family of Jim Wray.

He added: “It was with regret that we were forced to bring these proceedings in the first place but the PPS did not engage with us properly in respect of its decision making, but in fact came to Derry last July and presented us with a determination it had already decided upon.

“As the court has remarked today, this was in breach of the Charter for Victims and forced our hand.”

A solicitor representing most of the families urged the authorities to press ahead with the prosecution.

Ciaran Shiels, of Madden & Finucane, said: “We would call upon the PPS to move immediately to re-institute the proceedings at Derry District Judge’s Court against Soldier F and to secure his committal for trial in the Crown Court.

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“The families continue to be vindicated in their long pursuit of justice.”

Mr Shiels added: “We will now study this long and complex judgment and consider if there are any further legal remedies available to families in respect of whom there will be no prosecution of any soldier.”

A separate legal bid to overturn the PPS’s decision not to prosecute five other soldiers for the deaths of six people on Bloody Sunday failed.