'Bloody Sunday' case opens in N Ireland

A former British soldier is set to be prosecuted over the 1972 deaths of two protesters in NIreland.
A former British soldier is set to be prosecuted over the 1972 deaths of two protesters in NIreland.

The prosecution of a former soldier accused of two murders on Bloody Sunday nearly 50 years ago, will reach a Northern Ireland courtroom for the first time.

The case of Soldier F, who also faces five attempted murder charges in relation to the shootings in Londonderry on January 30, 1972, has been listed for hearing before a district judge in Derry Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

The decision to prosecute the ex-paratrooper was announced by the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service in March.

He is not required to attend court at this stage of the criminal proceedings and is not expected to be there in person.

He will instead be represented by his legal team.

Bloody Sunday became one of the most notorious incidents of the Northern Ireland Troubles when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on a crowd of civil rights demonstrators, killing 13.

Soldier F is accused of murdering James Wray and William McKinney.

He also stands accused of the attempted murders of Patrick O'Donnell, Joseph Friel, Joe Mahon and Michael Quinn. He faces a seventh supporting charge of the attempted murder of a person or persons unknown on the day.

The hearing before District Judge Barney McElholm is not expected to last long, with proceedings anticipated to focus on how the case will progress.

Relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday are expected to walk together to court ahead of the hearing.

Australian Associated Press