The discontinued prosecution of a former British Army paratrooper, known as Soldier F, for two murders on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 is to resume.
- Prosecutors last year announced they were discontinuing proceedings.
- Said they feared case could collapse at trial
James Wray (left) and William McKinney who died on Bloody Sunday.Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said prosecution of the former paratrooper for two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder will recommence.
Last year, the PPS halted to the prosecution saying it feared its case could collapse at trial.
But earlier this year the Divisional Court of the High Court in Belfast overruled the PPS following a challenge by the family of one of the victims, the McKinneys.
A subsequent attempt by the PPS to challenge this ruling in the English Supreme Court was also thrown out.
The PPS has now decided to resume the prosecution.
It originally stopped its prosecution of Soldier F – for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney – citing a separate court ruling on admissibility of evidence which collapsed another Troubles murder trial involving two former British Army soldiers.
The McKinney family successfully challenged the original PPS decision in a judicial review.
Bloody Sunday was one of the darkest days in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles, when members of
On Bloody Sunday – 30 January 1972 – the Parachute Regiment shot dead 13 peaceful civil rights protesters in the Bogside area of Derry.
Another man shot by paratroopers on 30 January 30 died four months later – the 14th victim s cause of death was formally attributed to ‘an inoperable brain tumour’.
Deputy director of public prosecutions Michael Agnew said: “The judgment delivered by the Divisional Court in March 2022 has been carefully examined and a fresh review of this case carried out.
“It has been concluded that, in order to give effect to the Divisional Court judgment, the original decision to prosecute Soldier F should stand.
“Therefore, the committal proceedings that were put on hold should now proceed.
“The PPS has written to representatives of the families and victims directly involved in the prosecution of Soldier F to confirm this decision.
“We have offered to meet with the families to answer any questions they may have and to outline the next steps to be taken to progress the case. Soldier F’s legal representatives have also been informed.
“I am very conscious of the upset caused to the Bloody Sunday families by the PPS decision to withdraw proceedings against Soldier F last year. It is our role to keep under review the evidence presented in every case.
“This case has presented difficult and complex legal issues for prosecutors, as was acknowledged by the Divisional Court. The PPS is committed to progressing court proceedings against Soldier F without any further delay.”
The Soldier F prosecution is now listed for a review hearing at Derry Magistrates’ Court on 27 September.
Mickey McKinney, brother of William McKinney, said: “We are delighted that the prosecution of Soldier F will resume next week.
“We hope that the PPS secure an early date for the resumption of the committal proceedings and that Soldier F is returned for trial to the Crown Court without further delay.
“We hope to meet with the PPS to discuss the future progress of the case in the coming weeks.”