Prosecutors warn over speculation about Bloody Sunday soldiers
Prosecutors in Northern Ireland have warned about speculating on imminent prosecution decisions on Bloody Sunday soldiers
The Public Prosecution Service has dismissed media reports suggesting knowledge of the likely outcome of its deliberations on the Londonderry shootings.
The PPS said second guessing the decisions, which will be formally announced on March 14, was likely to cause “significant and undue distress” to families bereaved when paratroopers opened fire on civil rights protesters in Derry in January 1972.
Thirteen people were killed on the day, with a 14th victim dying in hospital months later.
A murder investigation was launched into the events of Bloody Sunday in 2012.
A small of team of senior prosecutors in Northern Ireland is handling the complex and highly sensitive investigation.
It is understood special measures have been put in place to ensure their work remains top secret until the Bloody Sunday families are informed of the decisions next month.
The PPS team is assessing evidence against 17 Parachute Regiment veterans – and two former members of the Official IRA who were also involved in Bloody Sunday.
The organisation issued a statement after the Daily Telegraph reported that a number of the veterans are set to be prosecuted for murder.
A PPS spokeswoman said: “This is a wholly speculative article which is likely to cause significant and undue distress to the Bloody Sunday families.
“The PPS is currently making arrangements for the communication of its decisions to all parties on March 14 2019.
“We will not be providing any information in relation to prosecutorial matters in the intervening period.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland murder probe was initiated after a long-running Government-commissioned inquiry, undertaken by Lord Saville, found none of the victims was posing a threat to soldiers when they were shot.
Following the publication of the Saville report in 2010, then prime minister David Cameron apologised for the Army’s actions, branding them “unjustified and unjustifiable”.