25 witnesses could be called in Bloody Sunday 'Soldier F' prosecution

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Twenty-five witnesses are being lined up as part of the prosecution of a former serviceman who is accused of two murders on Bloody Sunday, a barrister told a court.

Soldier F is accused of murdering James Wray and William McKinney, and four attempted murders.

A brief hearing at Derry Magistrates' Court primarily concerned procedural timetabling matters.

The ex-paratrooper's barrister Mark Mulholland QC is to challenge any decision to send his client for trial.

He confirmed that 25 witnesses were being lined up as part of the prosecution but said some of those may not necessarily be called.

After the case, solicitor for the McKinney family and four wounded victims Ciaran Shiels said: "We have indicated to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) that we intend to challenge the anonymity order that has been granted to the soldier.

"The position of the families is that there is a significant departure from the principles of open justice, that this defendant is being treated more favourably than other people charged with homicide and indeed murder."

Mr Shiels added: "There are 25 witnesses that Soldier F's legal team have indicated that they wish to hear oral evidence from.
"We know that all those witnesses are civilian witnesses.

"The PPS now have to, because some of that evidence was taken some time ago, the PPS have to make contact with some of those witnesses and see first of all whether they are happy to come to the three-week committal voluntarily or, if that is not the case, they have to look at witness-summonsing any of those witnesses.

"In addition to that, there are hearsay applications which have to be determined by the court.

"They are very important in relation to this prosecution and those hearsay applications concern the accounts of the colleagues of Soldier F within the anti-tank platoon who put Soldier F within the confines of Glenfada Park North where all these shootings occurred."

He said the PPS also intended to call some evidence in respect of the shootings on a rubble barricade which nobody is currently charged with to give proper context to the events and the activities of the anti-tank platoon.

In court, Mr Mulholland indicated that he expected the committal hearing to take three or four weeks and added notices of objection to hearsay would take two or three days.
District Judge Peter Magill said: "It seems that the parties are in broad agreement and it seems to me, at least initially, that things are moving with due dispatch considering how complicated the matter is."

Bloody Sunday families at a previous court hearing in Derry Lodnonderry

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