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23 January 2003 Edition

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McBride family appeal is heard

At a hearing last Thursday 16 and Friday 17 January, lawyers for the McBride family appealed the April 2000 ruling of Justice Kerr in which he upheld a decision by the Army Board allowing Scots Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher to remain in the British Army despite being convicted of murdering 18-year-old Peter McBride on the New Lodge Road in 1992.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly is backing the McBride family in their appeal against the British Ministry of Defence and Justice Kerr's ruling allowing the two killers to remain in the British Army.

Kerr said at the time that it was" not without misgivings" that he had decided the decision of the board could not be condemned as unreasonable.

The victim's mother, Jean McBride, has pledged to fight on for justice for her son. "If we fail at the Court of Appeal, we will fight on in the European Court," she said. "I spent 18 years raising my son and if I have to spend another 18 years fighting for justice for Peter I will."

Gerry Kelly has written to Tony Blair on this issue but the British Prime Minister has refused to meet with Jean McBride or to give her reasons why these men remain in the British Army.

"This is now the third time the McBride family have taken the Ministry of Defence to court to achieve justice. The British establishment must take steps to ensure these men are removed from the British Army," said Kelly.

Both Wright and Fisher have since been promoted.

Members of the Troops Out Movement held a day of protest to coincide with the McBride family's appeal hearing in the Belfast Court of Appeal. Letters of protest were handed in at Army Recruitment Offices in numerous towns and cities in England, demanding the immediate dismissal of Wright and Fisher.

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