Discontinued court proceedings against a military veteran accused of two murders on Bloody Sunday have resumed.
Last week, Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced it was reactivating the case against ‘Soldier F’ on two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. The former paratrooper is accused of the murders of James Wray and William McKinney on the day in January 1972 when members of the Parachute Regiment shot dead 13 civil rights protesters on the streets of Derry.
The PPS previously called a halt to the prosecution citing concerns that the case could collapse if it proceeded to trial.
The prosecution was still in the magistrates’ court system at that point, with lawyers preparing for a committal hearing to determine whether it would proceed to crown court trial. The decision to halt the proceedings was challenged by the family of Mr McKinney and earlier this year the Divisional Court of the High Court in Belfast overturned the PPS move.
Earlier this month, the court rejected the PPS’s bid to have an appeal referred to the UK Supreme Court. After reviewing its position, the PPS decided to resume the prosecution.
The case was mentioned briefly at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning.
A prosecution barrister confirmed to District Judge Peter Magill that the PPS was now in a position to “recommence” the proceedings.
The remainder of the legal exchanges focused on potential dates for the committal hearing, with the judge suggesting late November and December. The case was adjourned to October 7th when timetabling issues will again be considered.
The PPS originally halted the prosecution of Soldier F amid concerns the case could collapse in light of a separate court ruling on the admissibility of evidence which caused the collapse of another Troubles murder trial involving two military veterans.
The McKinney family successfully challenged the decision by prosecutors by way of judicial review.
Bloody Sunday was one of the darkest days in the history of the Troubles. Thirteen people were killed on the day, and another man shot by British paratroopers died four months later.
Many consider him the 14th victim of Bloody Sunday, but his death was formally attributed to an inoperable brain tumour. - PA