New bid to have British Army killers dismissed

The mother of Peter McBride, who was murdered by two British soldiers in Belfast in 1992, has launched a third legal bid yesterday to get them thrown out of the British Army.

Scots Guards Mark Wright and James Fisher served only three years of a life sentence and are still in their regiment, despite a majority decision in the Appeal Court last June that the Army was wrong not to discharge them.

Jean McBride, mother of Peter, 18, who was shot near his home in the New Lodge area, is challenging the refusal of the Armed Forces Minister to review the soldiers' status in the light of the decision by two appeal judges.

In the High Court in Belfast yesterday Seamus Treacy, QC, said a mandatory requirement of Queen's Regulations was that a soldier sentenced to imprisonment must be discharged.

The only derogation was if ``exceptional circumstances'' could be established.

He said the effect of the appeal court judgment was that there were no exceptional circumstances and therefore the Minister was wrong in deciding that the Army was not compelled to take action.

Mr Treacy said the judgement provided the army with the freedom to decide what action to take, not the freedom to take no action at all.

Mr Justice Weir said the appeal court had not quashed the Army's decision to retain the soldiers and added: ``We have to stop going round in circles.''

He said he would like time to reflect on the application for leave to apply for a judicial review and would give his decision towards the end of the week.

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