From The Guardian:
Finally some progress - although the commanding officer should also be charged.Only one former British paratrooper is to be charged in connection with the killings of civil rights demonstrators in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday in January 1972.
The decision was announced by Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) after relatives of the 13 people who died on one of the darkest days of the Troubles had marched together through the streets of Derry where the victims fell.
The director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron, said: “It has been concluded that there is sufficient available evidence to prosecute one former soldier, Soldier F, 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.
“In respect of the other 18 suspects, including 16 former soldiers and two alleged Official IRA members, it has been concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.”
On their way to the City hotel, where details of the charges were first revealed to the families, the relatives paused to sing the civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome. The PPS then formally announced the prosecution decisions in Derry’s Guildhall.
The former serviceman has not been named and will only be identified by the letters used during the 12-year-long Saville inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday.
The inquiry found the killings were “unjustified” and that none of the 14 dead was carrying a gun, no warnings were given, no soldiers were under threat and the troops were the first to open fire.
The image of a Catholic priest waving a blood-stained handkerchief as he tried to help a victim to safety on 30 January 1972 was broadcast around the world.
As well as the 13 who died on the day, 15 others were shot and injured. One of the injured died months later from an inoperable tumour; some consider him the 14th fatality.
The PPS said that prosecutors would now consider charges against others in relation to allegations of perjury relating to the reports surrounding Bloody Sunday.
Herron added: “I am mindful that it has been a long road for the families to reach this point and today will be another extremely difficult day for them.
“There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in the light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday inquiry. However, much of the material which was available for consideration by the inquiry is not admissible in criminal proceedings due to strict rules of evidence that apply.
“We recognise the deep disappointment felt by many of those we met with today. As prosecutors, we are required to be wholly objective in our approach.”
In its explanation of the decision, the PPS statement says: “In some cases the only evidence of what individual soldiers did was contained within their own accounts [to the inquiry], which are inadmissible against them.”
Soldier F is to be prosecuted for two murders and four attempted murders in the Bogside streets of Glenfada Park North and Abbey Park.
Responding to the PPS decisions, the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: “We are indebted to those soldiers who served with courage and distinction to bring peace to Northern Ireland. The welfare of our former service personnel is of the utmost importance and we will offer full legal and pastoral support to the individual affected by today’s decision. This includes funding all his legal costs and providing welfare support.
“The Ministry of Defence is working across government to drive through a new package of safeguards to ensure our armed forces are not unfairly treated.
“And the government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues. Our serving and former personnel cannot live in constant fear of prosecution.”