The case against a former British soldier charged with the murder of two people on Bloody Sunday has resumed in Derry.
The soldier, known as Soldier F, is charged with the murders of Jim Wray and William McKinney on January 30, 1972, in Derry. He is further charged with the attempted murder of five other civil rights marchers on the same day.
In 2021, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) dropped the case against Soldier F after a separate trial collapsed against two other former British soldiers.
However, the High Court overruled the decision following a legal challenge from the relatives of Bloody Sunday victims, prompting the PPS to announce last September that it would recommence proceedings against Soldier F.
The case against Soldier F had reached the committal stage by the time it was initially dismissed last year.
The Irish Times reports that Derry Magistrates Court heard submissions on Friday, May 26, that hearsay evidence linking Soldier F to the deaths of Wray and McKinney should be admitted in court.
On Friday, a barrister representing the prosecution told District Judge Ted Magill that hearsay evidence should be admissible "if it is in the interests of justice".
The prosecution told the hearing that two soldiers - named Soldier G and Soldier H - told the controversial and now-discredited 1972 Widgery Report that Soldier F "opened fire on civilians".
Soldier G told the report that he was working with Soldier F on Bloody Sunday, adding that he entered Glenfada Park with the soldier. He also claimed that he and Soldier F saw gunmen with rifles after entering Glenfada Park.
Soldier G admitted to firing three shots and said Soldier F "fired at the same time".
Soldier H, meanwhile, told the investigation that Soldier F was firing shots beside him on Bloody Sunday, adding that he saw "both men fall".
Soldier H said he arrived in Glenfada Park after Soldiers F and G has already arrived there.
Soldier G has since died, while the prosecution said there is little point of trying to compel Soldier H to give evidence as he would likely refuse to either refuse to give evidence or give untruthful evidence so as to not incriminate himself, the prosecution told the court on Friday.
The prosecution asked Judge Magill to allow a trial judge to make a ruling on whether the hearsay evidence was admissible.
Judge Magill said the defense would need time to consider the submission and adjourned proceedings until June 7.
Soldier F is the only British soldier to face possible prosecution over the events of Bloody Sunday, which left 13 unarmed civil rights marchers dead. John Johnson, who was shot in the leg, died months later and is regarded as the 14th victim of Bloody Sunday.
The PPS first announced that Soldier F would be prosecuted for the murders of Jim Wray and William McKinney on March 14, 2019.
Speaking in March 2023, Michael McKinney, the brother of William McKinney, criticized the slow pace of the proceedings, stating that it was exacerbating the suffering of all Bloody Sunday families.
"After the murder of Willie and the slander of his good name by Widgery and the British establishment, the delay in the case is heaping further suffering not just on our family on all the Bloody Sunday families. It’s cruel and frustrating," McKinney told the Irish News in March.
"Every day that passes increases the urgent need to move this case forward."