PPS gives its reasons for not prosecuting more British soldiers for Bloody Sunday atrocity
The PPS has now confirmed that it can only prosecute one soldier for his role on Bloody Sunday due to a lack of evidence.
‘Soldier F’ will be prosecuted for the murders of Jim Wray (22) and William McKinney (27). Action is also set to be taken against him for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.
But the PPS said the ex-lance-corporal will not face charges over the murders of Barney McGuigan (41), Patrick Doherty (31) or Michael Kelly (17), despite Lord Saville’s conclusion in 2010 that he was probably responsible.
Outlining reasons for not bringing further prosecutions, the PPS said it was partly due to statements provided to the Saville Inquiry being inadmissible. Equally, statements given to the Royal Military Police and Army Tribunal staff at the time of the Widgery Inquiry, would not stand up because they had been provided under compulsion. The PPS has published a 13 page document explaining why it cannot bring more prosecutions.
Two soldiers, ‘Corporal A’ and ‘Private B,’ who were suspected of involvement in the fatal shooting of John Johnston (59) are not being pursued because “on available evidence there was no reasonable prospect of proving that ‘Soldier A’ and ‘Soldier B’ were not acting in self-defence.”
‘Private R,’ who was suspected of having killed Jackie Duddy (17), will not be prosecuted because there was “no evidence available to prove that he fired his weapon on Bloody Sunday other than an account given by one other soldier.’
‘Private U,’ suspected of having shot Hugh Gilmour (17) will not be proceeded against because, “once his own accounts were disregarded, there was no evidence available to prove that he fired his weapon on Bloody Sunday.”
‘Soldier F’ was also suspected of having killed Micheal Kelly but the test for prosecution was not met because: “The only source of evidence that it was ‘Soldier F’ who had fired this weapon on Bloody Sunday, was contained in one of his own inadmissible accounts.”
In relation to the murders of Willam Nash (19), John Young (17) and Michael McDaid (20) a ‘Corporal P’ and ‘Lance Corporal J’ were reported to the PPS.
But with regard to ‘Lance Corporal J,’ the PPS stated: “One soldier witness provided a statement in which he places ‘Soldier J’ amongst a group of soldiers who were firing in a location that would appear to be Rossville Street. However, the witness is unable to identity who within the group was actually firing.”
And the PPS said there was no reliable evidence to prosecute ‘Corporal P’ because: “The totality of the evidence available suggests that [another] soldier’s account of ‘Soldier P’ firing at a person was fabricated.”
‘Private M’ had been suspected of involvement in the killing of Kevin McElhinney (17) but the PPS said the test for prosecution would not have been met because it would have relied on hearsay evidence that even if it had been admitted, would have likely led to a self-defence defence.
The PPS believed that with the evidence available, it would have had a “reasonable prospect of proving” that ‘Private G’ had killed both Gerard McKinney (35) and Gerard Donaghy (17), however, that former paratrooper has since died. The PPS revealed that ‘Private G’ was also the only source of evidence available to it that would have allowed it to prosecute ‘Soldier F’ for the murders of Barney McGuigan and Patrick Doherty.
It said there was careful consideration given to whether this evidence could be adduced in support of a prosecution case to prove that ‘Soldier F’ fired in this location” but concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of a court admitting this evidence for use against ‘Soldier F.’