A relative of two victim’s of Bloody Sunday has hit out at the PSNI’s handling of an investigation that may lead to the prosecution of Parachute Regiment soldiers who fired at civilians on January 30, 1972.
Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William was shot dead and father Alex was wounded whilst trying to reach his son on Rossville Street made her comments following a meeting between family members and the police investigative team in the City Hotel on Wednesday night (December 4, 2013).
In essence Kate Nash has accused the PSNI of delaying tactics with regard into the actions of nine soldiers pinpointed in the Saville Report as having carried out the shootings almost 41 years ago in the Bogside.
After attending Wednesday night’s meeting Kate said: “This process seems to be incredibly slow. We never seem to get any satisfactory answers. This now seems to be veering towards the PSNI reinterviewing over 900 civilian witnesses before they get around to questioning the soldiers. They apparently have whittled this down to just over 900 from 1,400 people but on top of this they say then plan to re-examine over 400 statements from soldiers.”
Kate Nash said that family representatives at the meeting strongly challenged the procedures being used by the PSNI with regard to this. She said: “Why not just question the nine soldiers identified as having been the ones who fired on Bloody Sunday. A recent Sunday Times article quoting the Ministry of Defence said that these men were to be questioned imminently and the PSNI gave a statement in that article. However, this appears to have changed again. Why is that?”
Any potential murder investigation is based on the premise that an investigating police team cannot use statements given and recorded within the findings of the Bloody Sunday inquiry because it is a criminal investigation.
Whilst, Kate Nash is aware of that she said: “What is the need to re-interview in excess of 900 civilian witnesses. The inquiry had the power of a high court and this evidence was tested at a very high level by the best in the legal profession for both the families and the British Army. It will result in further delays and a lot more public money being spent.”
Asked why she thought the process appears to be being delayed again Kate Nash said: “I think it’s a case of high level political interference. Neither do I believe that the comments recently made by the Attorney General were a coincidence. Basically, I think they are hoping that relatives all die and that the soldiers will die. The notion appears to be that the soldiers will be the last to get questioned.
“This is about justice being served and to be seen being done. We aren’t necessarily looking for soldiers to go to jail. All prosecutions do not result in people going to jail, but what we want to see is them being made accountable in a court of law for their actions were the world would see their faces.”
In response to questions from the Sentinel a spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Senior detectives from the PSNI met a number of families who lost loved ones in Derry on 30 January 1972 in the city last night (Wednesday, December 4). Officers provided an update on the progress of an investigation and the complex processes involved. For the investigation to be a comprehensive and effective as possible, police are required to take statements from witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry. This is because police are precluded from using Saville testimony in a criminal investigation.”
Meanwhile it has been confirmed that 12 full-time police personnel, understood to be from forces across the UK are to join the 12 part-time officers already part of the investigation team on Bloody Sunday. It is believed the full-time officers will join the team on January 6, 2014.