Questions continue over veterans prosecutions: Campbell

Commenting on the announcement that the two army veterans known as Soldier F and Solder B will now not face trial, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said,

By Gregory Campbell MP

East Londonderry

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"It is less than two months since the trial of two other army veterans collapsed. That collapse prompted a review of other cases, and today's announcements are a repercussion of the issues highlighted previously. There was a determination to ensure that veterans were put on trial, but significant evidential issues were not considered properly.

Any prosecution should only be brought forward when there is evidence which is admissible to be used in the court proceedings. That remains the case regardless of any other factors relating to the case, including how high profile it may be.

It is entirely understandable that any family who have lost loved ones will continue to seek justice and find some closure. There are many thousands of families across Northern Ireland who are in that same position but in those cases they have not even had the benefit of any meaningful investigation into their loved ones murder and certainly not such a lengthy and detailed inquiry.

I have repeatedly indicated that after 40 or 50 years it is going to be almost impossible to reconstruct accurately the context in which soldiers or police officers were operating at the time of terror. I said this when the 'Bloody Sunday' inquiry reported but nationalist and republican political representatives pressed on regardless.

When I questioned the Chief Constable in 2017 about an IRA murder which took place in 1982 there were factors, including the passage of time cited as to why any prosecution was unlikely. The level of consideration given to evidential issues in this more recent murder also underscores questions as to how other cases were allowed to proceed despite such problems existing.

No one should be above the law in our society and everyone must have access to justice for the murder of their loved one. There should never be any question of amnesty being offered but it is undoubtedly the case that the need of those who served in Northern Ireland to be offered equivalent levels of protection to those who served overseas will continue to be raised."

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