An Angry Mob and a Gravy Train.
I challenge anyone to face down thousands of angry people carrying clubs, bottles and bricks and describe them as ‘unarmed, protestors’. If a person holds a large stone with the intent of throwing it they are armed, if a person carries a bottle full of petrol they are armed, if a crowd corners an individual and attacks him or her they are dangerous to life. The question of whether they are carrying guns is irrelevant, - a point signally ignored by the BBC, Sky and other media sources when reporting the findings of yet another Bloody Sunday inquiry.
One hundred and forty-five million pounds of taxpayers money over forty-seven years to obtain the prosecution on one junior rank, one soldier among many who was on the streets facing a baying mob of rioters, not as the media would have it, ‘peaceful, unarmed protestors’.
So who benefits from this decision to prosecute? Certainly not those hoping for justice, because if justice was what they wanted then they would have to prosecute the politicians, the police, the march organisers, the military commanders, the IRA and those who attacked the security forces. They can’t do that because almost all of those in the aforementioned list have died in the intervening period. So they are left with one squaddie.
So who benefits? Not those who were seeking compensation because in spite of the attempt to prosecute as many soldiers as possible, there has never been enough evidence to prosecute. So the millions in compensation that might have been expected by the families of the dead has been reduced dramatically.
So who benefits? £145,000,000 goes a long way where law firms are concerned. Win or lose they come out on top. It’s not a complicated scam, find an aggrieved family, give them high expectations and then drag the case out over as many years as possible. By the end of the Saville inquiry in 2010 fourteen lawyers had earned more than one million pounds each in fees. In the intervening years I would imagine that the number has doubled. The feigned shock and horror displayed when it was discovered that lawyers were raking it in with fake cases from Iraq is simply a more recent version of the same scam.
It is interesting that the latest investigation into Bloody Sunday has resulted in only one prosecution. I am tempted to think that this individual is a bone of appeasement thrown to the wolves to prevent violence from breaking out again. The recent parcel bombs sent to different addresses in the UK were sent as a warning to the authorities by the IRA. Not a group ‘claiming to be the IRA, but the IRA. They knew the secret code word that identified them to the media and the police. The law is only useful to criminals when it goes their way when it doesn’t they will return to the bombs and bullets of yester-year.
There is no guarantee that there will be a guilty verdict at the end of this case. The case will drag out over the next few years, the defendant will get older and may well pass away. It will be interesting to discover why Soldier F has been singled out.
The prosecution of ‘Soldier F’ whichever way it goes will not be the end of the matter. The trough is now being filled with more cash to investigate the ‘Ballymurphy Massacre’ and when that is over there will be another and another case to drag up from history. The driving force is easy money. It’s akin to picking a scab from a wound that can never heal.
If the UK is to draw a line under the decades of violence in Northern Ireland then the first step must be to cut off the funding for these spurious cases. It isn’t possible to get justice for those who died in Northern Ireland between 1969 and today which is why the Good Friday Agreement was accepted and killers were released from prison. It isn’t possible to get meaningful convictions - and it isn’t possible to become a compensation millionaire - unless of course you are a lawyer.
I call on the Government to cut the funds that feed this gravy train, I call on the media to stop spouting Republican propaganda and I call on all the peoples of Northern Ireland to put the past away – none of us can get our dead friends back. Keep on looking to the future and continue to build a prosperous Northern Ireland where the next generation can have peace.
©Robin Horsfall 2019
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