Shameful Northern Ireland prosecutions start today

Soldiers A and C, now in their early 70s, are due to stand trial today accused of the murder of Official IRA commander Joe McCann in Belfast in 1972.

The former Parachute Regiment soldiers are the first British servicemen to be prosecuted over the killing of an active member of the IRA, and the first to stand trial since the Good Friday Agreement.

They were cleared at the time but the Police Service of Northern Ireland reopened the case in 2016.

Ex veterans minister Johnny Mercer will be in Belfast to support Soldiers A and C.

Commenting on developments, Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors and Visiting Professor of Law and Veterans’ Affairs at the University of Chester said:

“Huge credit to Mr Mercer for taking a stance and publicly supporting Soldiers A and C.

“When a significant time has passed witnesses’ recollections and memories fade, documentary evidence is lost and other evidence is weakened. A fair trial is impossible. The whole situation is wrong, ludicrous and against all reason.

“How can the military operate in dealing with terrorists if they face individual prosecution as a result? Where is the protection of our veterans when they need it the most? Shame on the MoD and politicians for allowing this to happen.”