Action to force prosecution decision before cut-off
Action to force prosecution decision before cut-off


Lawyers representing the family of Annette McGavigan have issued a pre-action protocol letter over a prosecutorial decision regarding the soldier who shot and killed their sister.

Annette McGavigan was 14 years old when she was shot dead by a member of the Royal Green Jackets Regiment in the Bogside area of Derry on the 6th of September 1971 as she watched a riot in the Bogside area. She had been let out of school early that day due to the disturbances and was still wearing her school uniform.

Acting for the family, Patricia Coyle issued the letter against the North’s prosecution service following confirmation from the PSNI that a file was submitted to prosecutors in respect of the case on 6th February 2024.

New cover-up legislation sets a cut-off date for prosecutions and investigations relating to the conflict of May 1, 2024. A prosecution decision must be made before that date.

The PSNI have been conducting an investigation into the circumstances of Annette’s death for the past number of years. Following an appeal from the family on Annette’s 50th anniversary, a number of new witnesses came forwards and provided statements to the police.

The family also lodged a case with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in January challenging the new legislation. That case is yet to be heard and the next of kin are optimistic that it may be heard in conjunction with the Dublin government’s inter-state application against London challenging the 2023 Act.

Martin McGavigan, Annette’s brother said:

“Annette’s murder devastated our family. My mother and father never recovered. When we came home from school our mother would be just sitting on the landing holding Annette’s clothes and crying. My father would spend hours standing and staring at Annette’s mural in the Bogside.

“Annette wanted to be a nurse. She had so many possibilities in front of her, and those were destroyed on that day.

“We are so worried that this Legacy Act brought in by the British government will snatch our last attempt at justice for our sister. It cannot be allowed to happen. We need the PPS to make this decision before the cut off date. At the minute we are holding our breath hoping that we get news soon before it is too late.”

Sara Duddy from the Pat Finucane Centre said:

“The Legacy Act was designed to stop cases like this. Its sole purpose is to prevent soldiers who shot and killed men, women, and in this case, a child, on our streets from prosecution for their actions.

“We urge the PPS to review to review the evidence and make the correct decision before the 1 May 2024 deadline. Killers cannot be allowed to evade justice simply because a timer ran out.”

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