East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has said the collapse of the trial of two army veterans raises questions as to how the case managed to proceed to the point of a court case.
The judge in the case described it as “remarkable” that the pair had been prosecuted for the murder of Official IRA leader Joe McCann on the basis of a report by the HET despite the HET telling the court it did not think there was any evidence to reopen the case.
The DUP MP said, “This case was brought forward with no new evidence and without even a fresh interview carried out by police of the two men.
It is a very clear example of the disparity of treatment between former members of our Armed Forces and those accused of terrorist offences. There simply would have been no question of such a case against someone suspected of a terrorist murder proceeding to such lengths. It is cases such as this which allow the phrase ‘witch hunt’ to be used with justification.
Whilst today's decision may yet be appealed it is clear these veterans should not have been brought before the court. There is a very clear need for all those who served in Northern Ireland to have the equivalent level of protection provided to those who served their country overseas."