New legal bid likely after massacre prosecutions decision

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There was disappointment in Derry today after Crown Prosecutors confirmed that they will not prosecute 15 British soldiers in connection with Bloody Sunday.

The decision was announced following a review by the Crown in response to requests from the families of the those who were killed and injured in Derry on January 30, 1972.

Fourteen civil rights protests died and 22 were injured after being shot by British soldiers in one of the most infamous days of the conflict in the North. The original public inquiry was widely dismissed as a whitewash.

After a second public inquiry and a police investigation in 2016, 18 former soldiers were reported to prosecutors. However, in March 2019, it was announced that only one former soldier, known as ‘Soldier F’, would face charges in connection with Bloody Sunday.

Lawyer Ciaran Shiels described the decision to bring no further prosecutions as “deeply disappointing for these families and wounded”.

“The families are left with no alternative now but to consider judicial review proceedings in the High Court in Belfast,” he said.

Mickey McKinney, whose brother Willie was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, also expressed his dismay, but said his hopes for justice remained.

“This is part of a process which will hopefully get us a judicial review and hopefully we will get a result that more soldiers will be prosecuted,” he said.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed during Bloody Sunday, said he was disappointed on behalf of the other families.

“We’re not giving up yet, we have now the next stage, the judicial review at the High Court,” he said.

“It’s been a long road, up to nearly 50 years, we’re all getting old, a lot of people are dying but as long as we’re able to walk, we’ll go after them and we certainly will not stop until we see justice for our loved ones.”

Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson expressed disappointment at the decision. Paying tribute to the Bloody Sunday families for their strength and determination over 48 years, she said the actions of the British Army on Bloody Sunday were well documented.

“Bloody Sunday was a massacre of the innocents and this was acknowledged by the British Prime Minister David Cameron when he said it was unjustified and unjustifiable.

“The British government must end their block on the establishment of the legacy mechanisms agreed in the Stormont House Agreement as the only way to deal with legacy issues.”

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