A fresh review of the case against Soldier F – who is facing two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder in Derry on January 30, 1972, also known as Bloody Sunday – has been carried out as the result of a recent Divisional Court ruling, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said on September 21.
The PPS said that after careful consideration of the Court ruling made on March 23, 2022, it has been decided to continue with proceedings against Soldier F which were put on hold by the PPS in July 2021. By that date, the prosecution of Soldier F had reached the committal stage at Derry Magistrates’ Court and the proceedings were part-heard. The PPS now intends to reactivate the case on its next scheduled court date, after which it is expected that the committal hearing will move towards completion.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Agnew said: “The judgment delivered by the Divisional Court in March 2022 has been carefully examined and a fresh review of this case carried out.
"It has been concluded that, in order to give effect to the Divisional Court judgment, the original decision to prosecute Soldier F should stand. Therefore, the committal proceedings that were put on hold should now proceed.
“The PPS has written to representatives of the families and victims directly involved in the prosecution of Soldier F to confirm this decision. We have offered to meet with the families to answer any questions they may have and to outline the next steps to be taken to progress the case. Soldier F’s legal representatives have also been informed.
“I am very conscious of the upset caused to the Bloody Sunday families by the PPS decision to withdraw proceedings against Soldier F last year. It is our role to keep under review the evidence presented in every case. This case has presented difficult and complex legal issues for prosecutors, as was acknowledged by the Divisional Court. The PPS is committed to progressing court proceedings against Soldier F without any further delay."
Soldier F, the PPS notes, is being prosecuted for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney, and for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon, and Patrick O’Donnell and a fifth person unknown in Derry on January 30, 1972.
The Soldier F prosecution is next listed for review at Derry Magistrates’ Court for Tuesday, September 27.
Mickey McKinney, brother of Bloody Sunday victim William McKinney, welcomed the news, saying: “We are delighted that the prosecution of Soldier F will resume next week.
“We hope that the PPS secure an early date for the resumption of the committal proceedings and that Soldier F is returned for trial to the Crown Court without further delay.
“We hope to meet with the PPS to discuss the future progress of the case in the coming weeks.”