Prosecutors avoid bringing Daniel’s killer to justice


The family of Daniel Hegarty, a 15-year-old boy shot dead by the British in Derry in 1972, is being ignored by prosecutors, despite a court ordering them to bring his killer to trial.

Daniel’s family says they are angry and disgusted about the lack of communication from the Crown prosecutors.

Daniel was shot twice in the head, but in July 2021, the ‘Public Prosecution Service’ said it would not pursue charges against a still unidentified former British soldier known only as Soldier B.

This decision was overturned in June, but the Hegarty family says they have been left in the dark over the next steps.

Speaking to the BBC, Daniel’s sister, Margaret Brady, said: “We have never heard anything from them, and I want to know why. I feel angry and disgusted that they are treating us as an afterthought, as if we are nothing.”

The family’s lawyers have now written to the PPS to request they confirm their exact position, as the appeal period for the ruling has now expired.

In June, the PPS had stated it would be taking “necessary time to consider the full detail of the written judgment” and was “committed to deciding next steps and updating the family directly at the earliest opportunity.”

Ms. Brady said the lack of a formal update had caused the family hurt and mistrust. “They need to stop doing this,” she said. “It feels like stalling, and it really hurts families like mine. There’s no respect.”

Calling for a meeting with the PPS as soon as possible, she added: “We need peace of mind and justice.”

Monday marked the 51st anniversary of her brother’s killing, and last year, a plaque was unveiled in Derry, close to the Creggan Heights area where he had been shot.

The teenager had been a labourer and was killed during ‘Operation Motorman,’ the British military operation to recapture areas in towns and cities across the north of Ireland where they had lost control.

A jury inquest in 2011 unanimously found Daniel had not been a threat and had been shot without warning.

The original inquest in 1973 had returned an open verdict, but a new inquest was ordered in 2009.

There are fears that the prosecution is being deliberately stalled until a Bill to implement an overarching cover-up of British war crimes passes through the London parliament, possibly as soon as next month.

A lawyer for the Hegarty family said: “In the interests of justice and everyone involved in this long-running case with all its legal history, there is absolutely no technical reason why the PPS should not simply tell the family at this sensitive time when the prosecution of Soldier B will continue.”

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