Bloody Sunday Prosecution

(Timothy Cole) #1

A former soldier is now to be prosecuted for murder, the right decision?

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(Paul Flinders) #2

I think that the principle is well accepted - whatever Karen Bradley might think - just being a serving member of the armed forces does not absolve you of having to follow the law, even in a war zone and if there is sufficient evidence that a crime was committed then the perpetrator should stand trial.

Beyond that I don’t know - is much of the evidence that was examined available in the public domain?

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(Sue Young) #3

I might agree if TB hadn’t absolve all terrorists from prosecution. Right decision? And how-after 47 years- can you pick one soldier to prosecute m

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(Timothy Cole) #4

As I understand it during the Saville inquiry several of the soldiers gave evidence that could not be used in a court of law hence today’s decision to only prosecute one of them.

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(John Anderson) #5

Tend to agree with Sue Young: if ex-soldiers are to be prosecuted then the principle of issuing letters of immunity to paramilitaries identified as actual/probable bombers should also be reviewed and where there is sufficient evidence, prosecution should follow.

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(Peter Goble) #6

Sue, I gather that the decision to send one soldier to trial was based on the availability of admissable evidence in his case, the other soldiers’ evidence was inadmissable because they were indemnified by a prior agreement.

Serving soldiers must be held to a higher standard than civilians, and there should be no justification for being lenient to the former because the latter are unable for legal (or any other) reasons to be brought to trial IMO.

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(Peter Goble) #7

@JohnA, welcome and it’s good to have your opinions here, the more the merrier and cheerfully messier too :grinning:

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(Sue Young) #8

But it does seem to me to smack more of vengeance than justice when terrorists are indemnified. Terrorists aren’t by any stretch of the imagination “civilians”

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(Paul Flinders) #9

It’s complicated. Its not a field I know a lot about, though I well remember the IRA attacks in the 70’s and 80’s

The pardons and immunity from prosecution were almost certainly necessary for the peace process - but it was hard to convict IRA members anyway because it was hard to get evidence that would stick. Was that right, just and fair - possibly not; is it right, just and fair that we apply 2019 moral standards to an event which took place in 1972 - maybe not; is it right, just and fair that only soldier F will be prosecuted - again, probably not; was it right, just and fair that people who were innocent bystanders lost their lives that day - definitely not!

We have seen recently that there is an appetite to follow up on these incidents from long ago (cf Hillsborough) and try to get justice for the victims so if there is evidence of wrongdoing I think it reasonable that evidence is tested in court.

I can only hope that his trial is fair.

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(David Wren) #10

Not seen the evidence, if this soldier is found guilty I would not expect him to serve any time, given that nobody else has, unless they have breached parole conditions.

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(Paul Bradford) #11

Several years ago I read the autobiography of Professor Sir Keith Simpson, Home Office Pathologist. (Forty Years of Murder)
In it he covered some of the famous cases that he was involved in. Neville Heath, Haigh-the Acid Bath Murderer, George Cornell, Roberto Calvi and Bloody Sunday amongst others. The book made for fascinating reading.
I’m not certain if we will ever find out the complete truth about Bloody Sunday.

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(Peter Goble) #12

Neither are unarmed civilians to be deemed to be terrorists on the say-so of an individual who has made up his mind on hear-say, what the papers say, or pure speculation.

The Saville enquiry exonerated all those who were killed and injured on Bloody Sunday after a thorough and exhaustive enquiry into the facts.

Anyone who resiles from that judgement should put up their evidence to the contrary or, in my opinion, stay silent on the matter.

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(Sue Young) #13

I didn’t say that those killed were terrorists. You said that soldiers should be held to higher standards than civilians. Since my original comment was about TB giving indemnity to terrorists I was pointing out that terrorists aren’t " civilians" by any stretch of the imagination.

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(John Mckellar ) #14

Which is the prevailing feeling in Loyalist circles in NI. Other points to consider: what was 1 st Para trained to be an offensive force doing in a " peacekeeping " role in the UK in the first place? And within the context of urban warfare, who can legislate for the feelings of fear these young soldiers must have been under? Too much concession was made towards the terrorists to secure the peace treaty which has encouraged a culture of victimisation in Nationalist quarters. Expect some kind of paramilitary reaction if a conviction is secured!

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(Sue Young) #15

There were " loyalist" terrorists as well as Republican. None of them should have been given a " get out of jail card ".

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(Jan Wallace) #16

Probably not, the blame should lay with those truly responsible. Who decided to deploy troops in Northern Ireland ? Who decided that Irish catholics are not equal citizens in their own country and treated as second class citizens and that a form of ethnic cleansing of them from the north was ok ? When you treat people like shit eventually they will rise up and fight back. In 1972 Bloody Sunday was just the latest in a string of atrocities visited on the catholics over the previous centuries, the fact that it was British soldiers opening fire on them and not the police speaks volumes. Soldiers follow orders, what about their commanding officer? What about those sent the soldiers there ?

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(Teresa Shipley) #17

Unfortunately Bloody Sunday was a perfect storm. 1st para were renowned for being heavy handed and by the end of 1971 the IRA had killed 30 British soldiers.
In my opinion the soldiers were out for blood and yes, probably scared. Their own Colonel disobeyed orders on the day.
Innocent people paid the price for the terrorist and soldiers mutual hatred.

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(Poppy Jones) #18

Justice needs to be equal and seen to be done equally
otherwise it has no value. It cannot be right that some are absolved for whatever reason and others are not. To prosecute this one man and let others go free is wrong on just about every level.

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(Jane Williamson) #19

Many ex paras are thinking of sending back their medals and goodness what this is doing to the morale of serving soldiers.
Since the privatisation of recruiting there is a lack of new recruits, so what this will do to the mindset of those who were considering joining up is anyone’s guess.
We have seen a concerted effort to make unsubstantiated claims against troops serving abroad which has already led to a loss of confidence in the attitude of troops to the support they are receiving from their own government.

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(Teresa Shipley) #20

I think the fact that James Wray was shot by a soldier as he lay dying on the ground from a first shot maybe the reason this soldier is being prosecuted.
If a decision was made to revisit the evidence this act of murder would be hard to ignore. I understand it seems unfair when terrorists from both sides were murdering people too.

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