No prosecutions of bandsmen who wore Parachute Regiment emblems for Soldier F support

Three members of a loyalist marching band will not be prosecuted over alleged “provocative conduct” after wearing Parachute Regiment emblems during a parade in Londonderry.

A former member of the regiment, known as Soldier F, is being prosecuted for allegedly murdering two civilians during the fatal shooting of 13 civil rights protesters in Londonderry on January 30, 1972.

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service said it recognised the hurt caused to relatives of those killed during the Bloody Sunday shootings by the emblems at the event, but concluded there were not likely to be successful prosecutions in the case.

The three individuals were reported to the PPS by police for an alleged public order offence during an Apprentice Boys of Derry parade on August 10, 2019.

Police investigated a complaint they had worn shirts bearing Parachute Regiment and Soldier F emblems whilst parading through the centre of Londonderry.

In a statement, the PPS said it had to consider whether the wearing of the shirts amounted to an offence of provocative conduct.

PPS assistant director Martin Hardy said it was concluded that the Test for Prosecution was not met in respect of any offence for any of the three individuals on evidential grounds.

“In respect of two of the three reported individuals, both of whom had worn the relevant shirts, it was concluded, following careful consideration of all the relevant facts and circumstances, that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction,” he said.

“The third reported individual had worn a replica military uniform which did not bear any emblem relating to the Parachute Regiment or Soldier F. It was concluded that there was nothing worn, or done, by this individual in the course of the parade that provided any separate basis for prosecution.

“Furthermore, in light of the conclusions reached in relation to the first two reported individuals, the evidence did not provide a reasonable prospect of conviction on the basis that he encouraged or assisted an offence of provocative conduct by others.”

Published on the 8th of June 2021
Article taken from the Londonderry Sentinel

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