Bloody Sunday: Derry awaits decision on 1972 killings

Bloody Sunday: Derry awaits decision on 1972 killings

The director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron, and senior prosecutors, revealed their decision to families of the deceased and injured on Bloody Sunday at a private meeting in Londonderry this morning.

"In these circumstances the evidence Test for Prosecution is not met".

"The Government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues".

"There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry", he said.

"We have walked the long journey since our fathers and brothers were brutally slaughtered on the streets of Derry", the families said in a statement.

Ciaran Shiels, a solicitor for relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims, said they were "disappointed that not all of those responsible are to face trial".

The letter said a dedicated team has been set up looking at ways to provide appropriate legal protection to serving and former members of the armed forces "where they now face repeated investigations and potential prosecution following events that happened many years ago".

He is to be charged with two murders and four attempted murders during Bloody Sunday, the event in the U2 song Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday helped galvanise support for the Provisional IRA early in the Troubles. One of the injured died months later from an inoperable tumour and some consider him the 14th fatality. The victims' families, as well as the British, Irish and USA governments, saw the findings as a step toward healing one of the biggest wounds left by the four-decade conflict in Northern Ireland that left 3700 people dead.

Seventeen former members of support company of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment are facing possible charges by the Public Prosecution Service on Thursday.

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Prosecutors had been considering evidence in relation to counts of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous injury with intent.

Relatives sought to right the wrongs of false claims that their loved ones had been armed.

The inquiry was authorised by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998 ahead of the negotiations that led to the Good Friday peace accord.

But the results of the Saville inquiry, which concluded in 2010, could not be used in any prosecution, and Thursday's charges resulted from a separate police investigation into the incident.

"We would like to remind everyone that no prosecution or if it comes to it no conviction does not mean not guilty, it does not mean that no crime was committed, it does not mean that those soldiers acted in a dignified and appropriate way", Mickey McKinney, brother to one of the victims, told a news conference.

Families of victims of Bloody Sunday, in which 13 unarmed protesters were killed in 1972, marched before the prosecutor's announced charges against a former British paratrooper.

An 18th soldier who was interviewed by police has since died.

More than 660 witness statements were taken and investigators gathered photos as well as video and audio evidence.

Family members have spent years campaigning for justice for the Bloody Sunday victims, while many supporters of the British military argued that the soldiers shouldn't be prosecuted for making split-second decisions decades after the event.

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