NI: PPS facing judicial review after trials of former soldiers collapse
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is facing a judicial review after today’s collapse of the trials of two former British soldiers facing Troubles-era murder charges.
The PPS announced today that it would discontinue the prosecutions of the former British soldiers known only as “Soldier F” and “Soldier B”.
Soldier F was charged with the murder of James Wray and William McKinney, and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell, on 30 January 1972, known as Bloody Sunday.
Soldier B was charged with the murder of 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty and the wounding with intent of Christopher Hegarty on 31 July 1972 during Operation Motorman.
Lawyers for the family of Mr McKinney said the prosecutors’ decision was “clearly premature in the absence of a High Court ruling on the issue”.
In a statement, Ciaran Shiels of Madden & Finucane said: “We have this morning informed the Public Prosecution Service of our intention to seek an immediate judicial review of its decision to discontinue the prosecution of Soldier F.
“The reasons underpinning the PPS decision relate to the admissibility of statements made to the Royal Military Police in 1972 by a number of soldiers who were witnesses to events in Glenfada Park.
“The admissibility of RMP statements in relation to the events of Bloody Sunday is a matter already under active judicial consideration by the High Court following proceedings which we lodged last December.
“The High Court will hear detailed legal argument over five days in September. In those circumstances, the decision by the PPS to halt this prosecution is clearly premature in the absence of a High Court ruling on the issue.”