Bloody Sunday enquiry

#1
Soldiers may face prosecution over fatal civilian shootings after 12-year inquiry publishes findings, The Guardian has revealed.

The long-awaited report into the Bloody Sunday massacre will conclude that a number of the fatal shootings of civilians by British soldiers were unlawful killings, the Guardian has learned.

Lord Saville's 12-year inquiry into the deaths, the longest public inquiry in British legal history, will conclude with a report published next Tuesday, putting severe pressure on the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland to prosecute soldiers.

Lord Trimble, the former leader of the Ulster Unionists and one of the architects of the Good Friday agreement, revealed to the Guardian that when Tony Blair agreed to the inquiry in 1998, he warned the then prime minister that any conclusion that departed "one millimetre" from the earlier 1972 Widgery report into the killings would lead to "soldiers in the dock".

One unionist MP who did not wish to be named described the conclusion of unlawful killings as a "hand-grenade with the pin pulled out that is about to be tossed into the lap of the PPS" in Northern Ireland.

Thirteen unarmed civilians, all of them male, were shot dead at a civil rights march in the Bogside area of Derry in January 1972. A 14th man died of his wounds several months later.

The killings electrified nationalist protests against British rule in Northern Ireland and Bloody Sunday became a critical moment in the history of the Troubles, dramatically boosting the popularity of the Provisional IRA in the province and, according to many people, acting as a catalyst for much of the violence that followed.

The results of Saville's hearing will be released to the public at 3.30pm on Tuesday when David Cameron announces its publication to the House of Commons.

Up to 10,000 people are expected to march around lunchtime that day into Guildhall Square in Derry, where they will watch live reports about the inquiry's conclusions on giant television screens. They will trace the same route that the civil rights marchers had attempted to take on Bloody Sunday, which the Stormont government, dominated in 1972 by unionists, had banned.

Families of those killed in the massacre 38 years ago have focused on a number of soldiers who were identified and gave evidence during the 12 year old tribunal. These include "Soldier F" who, according to the relatives of the Bloody Sunday dead, shot four to six of the victims. Told during the inquiry that his evidence amounted to perjury, he did not demur.

Though witnesses were protected from self-incrimination, an exception was made for perjury. And government law officers made it clear that criminal prosecution against an individual was not ruled out in the light of any evidence that emerged from other witnesses or from documents. Sources familiar with the inquiry said yesterday that Saville may not explicitly recommend criminal prosecutions and much will depend on his message, whether direct or indirect, to the PPS.

The PPS, headed by Sir Alasdair Fraser, will make the decision on prosecutions because the killings occurred in its jurisdiction, rather than the Crown Prosecution Service in London. Fraser will have to take into account the public interest in a prosecution, and the likelihood of securing a conviction.

Among survivors who were shot on the day and the families of the dead, there are many demanding that a number of British paratroopers should be prosecuted through the courts.

They could initiate a private prosecution and sue for compensation in a civil court.

Trimble, a Nobel peace prize winner, said that during the all-party talks of late 1997 and early 1998 he told Blair that a new inquiry would end up with soldiers being dragged through the courts.

He described the establishment of the tribunal during the peace talks as a "sideline deal independent from the Belfast agreement".

On his warning to Blair, Trimble said: "I just reminded him that the Widgery report of 1972 concluded that the troops' behaviour, to quote from the report, 'bordered on the reckless'.

"Then I told the prime minister that if you moved from one millimetre from the that conclusion you were into the area of manslaughter, if not murder," he said.

"I pointed out to Blair that we would see soldiers in the dock. I told him that at the time of the talks leading to the Belfast agreement," Trimble said.

Blair and the then Northern Ireland secretary, Mo Mowlam, announced the establishment of the Saville inquiry on 30 January 1998 - the 26th anniversary of the shootings, citing "compelling new evidence".

At the time Blair and Mowlam, who has since died, were locked in the intensive negotiations between unionists and nationalist that ultimately led to the Good Friday agreement of 1998.

However, Trimble said that the inquiry was "not in any way part of the agreement".

He added: "At the time of the talks the parties, it seemed to me, did not want to be obsessing on the past. The problem was that Blair, for reasons that I can't understand, gave in to pressure for a selective inquiry."

© Guardian

http://www.u.tv/News/Bloody-Sunday-...unlawful/937521df-c4f7-4bb0-a173-fb91c2bafdad
 
#2
If Widgery had done his job properly during the first inquiry, anyone who had been found guilty would have been released years ago under the Good Friday agreement. If the inquiry is not within the ambit of the agreement, a conviction for murder will carry a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment while a conviction for manslaughter leaves the court with a discretion to award a sentence up to and including life imprisonment. I am not surprised that the last government set up the inquity and refused to release it while they remained in power since the natural and probable consequence of any prosecution is that the terrorists who bombed and murdered over thirty years are now free men holding down jobs. Those who organised recruited and planned it are promoted to the United Kingdom legislature drawing a fat salary and pension paid for by the taxpayer while any former member of the Security Forces found guilty of murder or manslaughter as a result of this inquiry is, given his age, likely to die in prison.

Must be careful what I say or the Mods will lock this thread as well!
 
#3
Iolis said:
If Widgery had done his job properly during the first inquiry, anyone who had been found guilty would have been released years ago under the Good Friday agreement. If the inquiry is not within the ambit of the agreement, a conviction for murder will carry a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment while a conviction for manslaughter leaves the court with a discretion to award a sentence up to and including life imprisonment. I am not surprised that the last government set up the inquity and refused to release it while they remained in power since the natural and probable consequence of any prosecution is that the terrorists who bombed and murdered over thirty years are now free men holding down jobs. Those who organised recruited and planned it are promoted to the United Kingdom legislature drawing a fat salary and pension paid for by the taxpayer while any former member of the Security Forces found guilty of murder or manslaughter as a result of this inquiry is, given his age, likely to die in prison.

Must be careful what I say or the Mods will lock this thread as well!
I couldn't agree more.
 
#4
The result of this spunking of money to make jobs will not make anyone happy, I wonder how many threads it will make though?
 
#5
Iolis
Right again sir.
Guardian is creaming it's self already at the thought the the Bloody Paras being condemned by it's own Government and Judicial system.
john

May Blur rot in Hell.
 
#6
The soldiers involved should be allowed to seek compensation for all the stress and anxiety that they have suffered for the last 28 years, whilst this dithering has taken place.
 
#7
FFS just how many deaths did the cnut Blair cause, the F**king hypocrit, be nice to see him in the crap over Iraq
 
#8
The wealth that has been accrued through this is unbelievable. Most of course is in the control of certain individuals who blatantly and cynically went about the task over the years of grabbing as much as they could.
Some own expensive properties all over the world, a far cry from their roots in a terraced house in Bogside or Creggan.
Even the man "who made the boxes to set the loudspeakers on" is a millionaire with a mansion like a small castle as his regular home.

A well, good to know some good has come of it to someone!
 
#10
If the individual or individuals are charged with murder or manslaughter, the question arises as to the difference in the way the state prosecutes soldiers and policemen for the same offence. Murder by the state is always inexcusable and should always be punished, but there is a world of difference in the way in which the judicial system treats the executants of the state who are responsible for it. What happened to those who shot dead Jean Charles de Menendis at Stockwell? They lied to the court about the warnings given. Individuals who handled the incident were decorated and promoted. Police on the UK mainland who use the population as live Figure 11 targets can always rely on a coroners verdict of lawful killing or face internal disciplinary proceedings rather than face a court. Any time a policemen is threatened with prosecution, Police firearms officers threaten to refuse to carry weapons. If the soldiers or soldiers from this inquiry are to face prosecution, then I for one would find it not unreasonable to demand that the same rigerous judicial standard should be applied to ALL those who use firearms against civlians in the United Kingdom.
 
#11
The Northern Ireland office has come out and discredited, the story, as no-one has seen the report outside the chair/s of the enquiry.
But surely whatever the outcome of this enquiry the former soldiers are going to be put to the stake in public by the media which, will be a travesty
 
#12
There will always be a wider circle of those who know the findings than those who have seen the report and newspapers pay a great deal of money for 'leaks' of this kind. I do believe that IF there is a case to answer, it should go to trial on the probity of the evidence and for no other reason. There HAS to be equality before the law and I would deprecate any system which treats some branches of the state such as the Police and intelligence services, differently than it treats others.
 
#13
It was common knowledge at the time that the para's were not very happy with the way the Paddies had been behaving ...
 
#14
Mr_Deputy said:
Love it if they got Jimmy Saville to read out the findings. "Now then...you asked a very big question..."
Jim'll fix it for you, ya reckon he could fix it for all this to be buried just like all the Republican attrocities have been buried.
 
#15
GUNGA said:
It was common knowledge at the time that the para's were not very happy with the way the Paddies had been behaving ...
Really! 8O

You are clearly very well informed :roll:
 
#16
GUNGA said:
It was common knowledge at the time that the para's were not very happy with the way the Paddies had been behaving ...
and there I was, thinking that the Paras were all head over tits about having nail and petrol bombs thrown at them by an angry mob, not to mention being shot at. :D
 
#17
Radio 4 had a play made up of transcripts from the inquiry on yesterday. Very easy to see which way the wind is blowing; the witnesses against the army were all acted as full of tearful remembrance, a quiet but impassioned righteousness lending them all the stoic dignity they needed to stand up to "the man" and present their evidence in spite of their fear and doubt. Clearly we were meant to think them all 100% honest and sincere. The barrister representing the soldiers, in contrast, was cold and haughty, and the only military man to "take the stand" portrayed as an absurd turn-of-the-century Colonel Blimp figure we were obviously not supposed to take seriously. The second part (focusing on soldiers' testimony) is on at 2:30 today; will be interesting to see if old McLuhan was right about the medium being the message.
 
#18
Ignorant_Layman said:
Radio 4 had a play made up of transcripts from the inquiry on yesterday. Very easy to see which way the wind is blowing; the witnesses against the army were all acted as full of tearful remembrance, a quiet but impassioned righteousness lending them all the stoic dignity they needed to stand up to "the man" and present their evidence in spite of their fear and doubt. Clearly we were meant to think them all 100% honest and sincere. The barrister representing the soldiers, in contrast, was cold and haughty, and the only military man to "take the stand" portrayed as an absurd turn-of-the-century Colonel Blimp figure we were obviously not supposed to take seriously. The second part (focusing on soldiers' testimony) is on at 2:30 today; will be interesting to see if old McLuhan was right about the medium being the message.
I listened to it on the way home from work. I would agree that that was an impression easily arrived at from paying attention to the well-acted tone of the selected transcripts which attempteed to re-create the atmosphere of the inquiry as it was conducted at the time rather than the substance of their content. Whether this was intentionally done for the purpose of shaping public opinion in advance of the report's publication or not is not clear. I think that in the end, a more rounded view may be arrived at once the totality of the report is read rather than those which the BBC regards as 'key' to what is, after all, a drama constructed from a real and dramatic event.

The programme can be listened to again here. The second part of the programme to be broadcast today concentrates on the the statements given by the soldiers who participated in the event. Note that the transcipts have been 'edited' but not re-written' - which some may regard as a distinction without a difference.

Edited to add second hyperlink.
 
#19
Listening now, already rank with bias. Mention of General Ford's "robust defence" made but not depicted, play moves seamlessly into the cross-examination by the barristers for the dead's families without the crucial background of that defence having been established. The cross-examination by the soldiers' barrister isn't bothered with at all.
 
#20
Lets not beat about the bush here. Blair wanted to curry favour with the IRA so he agreed to this poxy expensive enquiry (probably hoping to secure a position for his ugly wife).
Widgery back in 1972 had only the scantiest of evidence to go on, statements of soldiers which are clearly either manufactured or economical with the whole truth. We've all been there.
There were virtually no eye witnesses that could credibly have come forward in 1972.
Any witnesses coming forward today have had over 30 years to get their stories set.
Thiteen people dead is an absolute tragedy nobody can deny this but no enquiry will bring them back.
It would not be possible to convict any soldiers who were present at the time.
The whole execrcise has been conducted by the legal profession for the legal profession at the country's expemse, :x :x :x :x :x :x

PS The only good thing about Whitecity estate is that it is next to Palace Barracks.
 

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