DPP ‘not involved in Bloody Sunday decision’

The Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions was not involved in the police decision to launch a murder investigation into the Bloody Sunday killings, his office said yesterday.

Barra McGrory QC represented Martin McGuinness in the marathon Saville Inquiry into the shootings in Londonderry in January 1972 when the Sinn Fein MP was an IRA leader in the city.

A report which confirmed the innocence of the 13 men shot dead by British Paratroopers also claimed Mr McGuinness, now the deputy Northern Ireland First Minister, gave wrong information about his movements that day and was probably carrying a sub-machine gun which he may have fired at troops.

A 14th victim died later.

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The Chief Constable of the PSNI Matt Baggott said the new police investigation involving up to 40 officers could take four years to complete.

Mr McGrory, then a solicitor, represented Mr McGuiness at the Saville investigation into the shootings, but insisted yesterday he had no part in the decision by the Chief Constable to begin a murder inquiry.

A spokesperson said that when he took up his position as Director last November he had identified Bloody Sunday as one of a number of cases in which there may be a potential conflict of interest.

She added: “The Director had therefore already determined that he would not be involved in any decision as to whether or not to prosecute in those cases.”

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Some Unionist politicians are demanding that Mr McGuinness be questioned and that the inquiry be widened to include the murders of two RUC officers shot dead by the IRA in Londonderry only days before Bloody Sunday. One of the gunmen involved reportedly used a sub-machine gun.

East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: “If the material contained in the Saville Report is good enough to warrant an investigation of the soldiers, then the police will also note that the report indicates the Deputy First Minister was ‘probably’ carrying a sub-machine-gun on that day. This must also merit investigation by the police.”

The Saville Inquiry, which lasted seven years, cost an estimated £200m, but the findings cannot be used as evidence in the police investigation.