Paras acquitted after Northern Ireland trial collapses

Two former paratroopers accused of the murder of an Official IRA man in 1972 have been formally acquitted after their trial collapsed.

Joe McCann, 24, was shot in disputed circumstances in Joy Street in the Markets area of Belfast in April 1972.

Soldiers A and C, both in their 70s, had pleaded not guilty. The men admitted firing shots but said they had acted lawfully when doing so.

The trial collapsed at Laganside court in Belfast after the prosecution confirmed they would not be appealing against a ruling by the judge that previous evidence was inadmissible.

Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors and Visiting Professor of Law and Veterans’ Affairs at the University of Chester, said the Soldiers A and C had been “shamefully let down by the political process”.

Said Hilary:

“This trial should never have taken place. The government should hang its head in shame. Where is the legislation to protect our veterans who served in Northern Ireland? This witch hunt needs to stop right now.”