NI: Lawyers for Bloody Sunday victim’s family make contempt complaint against Gavin Williamson
Lawyers for the family of a Bloody Sunday victim have contacted the Attorney General for Northern Ireland to complain about comments made by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
Mr Williamson, speaking after prosecutors announced that one former British soldier would face trial in connection with Bloody Sunday, had praised “those soldiers who served with courage and distinction to bring peace to Northern Ireland”.
He also promised “full legal and pastoral support to the individual affected by today’s decision” and said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would continue “working across government to drive through a new package of safeguards to ensure our armed forces are not unfairly treated”.
“Soldier F” is facing trial for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney, and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.
Belfast firm Phoenix Law has now written to the Attorney General on behalf of Kate Nash, whose brother William Nash was shot and killed by soldiers on Bloody Sunday.
In a statement, the firm said their client believed Mr Williamson, given his public position, had seriously and significantly jeopardised the chances of a fair and proper trial of “Soldier F”, and therefore may be in contempt of court.
Solicitor Darragh Mackin said: “Not only has the Secretary of State threatened the fairness of the judicial process, he has also shown a blatant disregard for our client and the other families affected by the events of Bloody Sunday.
“Mr Williamson seems to have forgotten that as an MP he has responsibilities to all citizens and not just the armed forces. Many lives in Derry were destroyed on Bloody Sunday and he would do well to be mindful of that. It is vital the legal process be allowed to function without attempts to influence it.”