Bloody Sunday Report made public

Some 38 years after the events in question, victims of the Bloody Sunday violence will finally be able to move on. There will be further steps to take in their healing process but at least their state of limbo is now at an end.

There has already been much debate about the appropriate way for Northern Ireland, as a region, to move on, so what should be the principles which govern that?

In my opinion, it is vital that our justice system should now take its rightful place as an institution of supremacy which all Northern Irish citizens can take ownership of. Lord Saville has reached a view that crimes have been committed by former servicemen. The Government has asked the Prosecution Service to consider whether charges should be brought. If there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, such prosecutions must take place.

Servicemen who gave evidence, at the Saville enquiry, were granted immunity from prosecution on the basis of their evidence. That means that only evidence from others can be used by the Prosecuting authorities to convict them. It may be that the evidence falls short of what is required for a successful prosecution in some cases.

It has been suggested that because terrorists were given amnesty under the Good Friday agreement, that a similar amnesty should be given to these servicemen. I disagree. However, once there is a conviction, it would then be appropriate, acting within the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, to review the sentences after consultation with the victims and their families.  The P & J Department could then make an arrangement for special parole in appropriate cases.

Update

Last night on ‘Spotlight’ I saw the  almost naked bigotry of Gregory Campbell, responding to the report.  It did not surprise me on one level but I still felt appalled by his failure to show any empathy, let alone sympathy for victims.  It serves as a reminder of how much work there is to be done to move Northern Ireland away from non-sectarian politics.

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4 Responses to Bloody Sunday Report made public

  1. guythemac says:

    I hope we don’t go down the route of prosecutions of soldiers. My sincere hope is that the Saville Inquiry and admission of responsibility is in itself such a huge step forward people can move on. The truth is now there. That is more important than either retribution or punishment.

    The simple fact is that the Parachute Regiment was about as wrong a choice for a ‘police’ job as you could find in the entire British Army: http://guythemac.com/2010/06/15/bloody_sunday/

    • Seymour Major says:

      Guythemac,

      Of course the decision to deploy the paras was a mistake but as Colonel Mike Dewar acknowledged last night on Spotlight, the soldiers were also in breach of the standing orders that they were given at the time. Your point is one of mitigation, not a justification for withholding a prosecution.

  2. smilingcynic says:

    General Sir Mike Jackson, the erstwhile head of the British army, was the ground commander on that faithful day we remember as Bloody Sunday.
    How did this man get to the top of the army, why is there no information in the press about his involvement. Did his silence, convienent loss of memory or involement in a cover up get him to the top. WE MUST KNOW. The Saville report CANnot be the end. It should be the end of the beginning!!!!!!!!!

    • Seymour Major says:

      Smilingcynic.

      You have your facts wrong.

      Captain Mike Jackson (as he then was) was not a ground commander. He was actually an adjutant (a staff officer). His only involvement in the events of that day was to transcribe a document which had been written by Major Loden. The document was an operational record of shots fired. It was not meant, at the time, to have been an investigative document. The report said as follows:

      “We accept Captain Jackson’s evidence of the purpose for which the list was initially prepared; and find nothing sinister in the fact that it did not include details such as the names of the soldiers and the number of rounds fired.

      “However, the list did play a role in the Army’s explanations of what occurred on the day.”

      There was no cover up. That should be the end of that aspect of the matter.

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