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7 March 2002 Edition

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Leave granted for DPP challenge

The family of a Derry teenager shot dead by British troops in 1972 was granted leave in the High Court in Belfast on Wednesday to judicially review the decision not to prosecute the soldiers involved. Manus Deery (15) was shot dead by a sniper firing from the city walls on 19 May 1972. The then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ruled that no crime had been committed, with the result that the legality of the killing was never tested in court. Following an historic ruling of the European Court of Human Rights last year, the Pat Finucane Centre and nine Derry families wrote letters to the DPP challenging him to abide by the judgement, which held that families must be informed of the reasons why no prosecutions were undertaken.

The DPP refused to provide reasons and it was announced at a PFC press conference in January that a number of legal test cases would now go ahead. The case taken by Helen Deery, sister of the victim, is the first to be granted leave for a judicial review.

"We have waited a long time for today," said Helen Deery. "The killing of a dog would have been treated with more seriousness. Manus was just an ordinary working class Catholic child from the Bogside. He was murdered and his murderers were never even questioned by the RUC."

Paul OConnor of the PFC welcomed the fact that the office of the DPP will now find itself in the dock. Judicial Review will also be sought this week on behalf of the family of Kathleen Thompson, the 47-year-old mother of six shot dead in her back garden by soldiers in 1971. UTV's Insight programme tonight at 10.30pm will focus on the Thompson case.

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