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21 February 2002 Edition

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Bloody Sunday decision slammed

In the High Court, Belfast, on Tuesday, Justice Kerr ruled on the Judicial Review taken last week by Madden & Finucane Solicitors of the decision of the Bloody Sunday Tribunal to allow 20 former and serving RUC/PSNI officers to give their evidence to the Inquiry from behind a screen.

Speaking on behalf of Madden & Finucane, Kieran Rainey said:

"The families are extremely disappointed with this decision. We will take time to consider this 35 page judgement with a view to lodging an appeal, a decision which will be made within the next few days".

Sinn Féin Foyle Assembly member Mitchel McLaughlin also slammed decision. "I share the anger and disappointment of the Bloody Sunday families, the wounded and the wider Derry community at this decision," he said. "This decision serves only to undermine the open and transparent Inquiry that Tony Blair promised in 1998.

"It is an absolute disgrace that these RUC members are being allowed to give evidence from behind screens. This decision gives credence to the ridicoulous suggests there is a threat to the RUC personnel concerned from the families, the wounded or the people of Derry.

"Day in and day out for the past 30 years Special Branch personnel have given evidence in court without the use of screens. Fear of recognition did not stop these same Special Branch men from harassing and intimidating the nationalist people of Derry during the past 30 years and it is obvious that there are ulterior motives behind this move."

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