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27 April 2000 Edition

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Family lobbies against killer soldier

Supporters of the family of Belfast youth Peter McBride, shot dead in 1992 by two Scots Guards who were later convicted of murder, held a vigil on Tuesday 18 April outside the Whitehall entrance to the Ministry of Defence in London. The vigil, calling for the dismissal of the two soldiers, followed the visit to London by members of the McBride family and campaigners from the Pat Finucane Centre. During that visit, a letter was handed in to Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street, followed by a press conference, extensive lobbying in the House of Commons and a public meeting that evening. A reconvened Army Board, comprised of senior military officers, a civil servant and a government minister will meet to consider the future of Guardsmen Wright and Fisher in the coming days. In November 1998, an Army Board decided that the convicted murderers could remain in the British Army despite their convictions. This decision was successfully challenged by the McBride family and a court ordered a new hearing of this internal Ministry of Defence disciplinary board. Supporters of the Guardsmen continue to claim that the two men committed an `error of judgement' as opposed to murder, a claim rejected by the courts.

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