18 April 2002 Edition

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McBride Judicial Review rejected

Call for further Day of Action

On Wednesday morning in the High Court in Belfast, Justice Kerr ruled against the family of Belfast teenager Peter McBride, shot dead by British soldiers in 1992. The family were challenging the decision of a British Army Board to allow the two Scots Guards convicted of his murder, Mark Wright and James Fisher, to remain in the armed forces. The ruling, which Jean McBride has described as "bizarre and unbelievable", came despite an earlier ruling by the same judge that the Army Board must reconsider its decision to continue to employ the two convicted murderers. This ruling was ignored by a subsequent meeting of the army board.

On 4 September 1992, Peter Mc Bride, an 18 year-old father of two young daughters, was stopped and searched, then shot dead minutes later by members of a patrol of Scots Guards in the New Lodge area of Belfast. In February 1995, the two British soldiers were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On 2 September 1998, the soldiers were released from Maghaberry Prison in advance of other prisoner releases. On 3 November 1998, the Army Board decided that Wright and Fisher could continue their careers in the services under an 'exceptional circumstances' clause.

Despite Wednesday's court setback, the McBride family and campaigners on their behalf have vowed to continue their campaign. An appeal will be launched in due course.

A spokesperson for the Pat Finucane Centre called for support for another worldwide day of action on 4 September this year, to mark the tenth anniversary of Peter's killing. Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said: "We will be calling on all of those worldwide who have supported previous days of action and who have been successful in highlighting the obvious injustice of this case in Australia, Germany, the United States, England and in many other countries to support the next day of action on 4 September. We are confident that those who have supported us in the past will do so again, and we will be asking them to focus their attention on the symbols of British representation in their countries by peacefully disrupting the running of British Consulates and Embassies.

"Peter's family have been fighting for justice for almost ten years now, against the British Army, their political supporters, who have included the current Secretary of State John Reid, and sections of the British media. Despite this latest setback the fight will go on, and neither the McBride family nor their supporters will give up until the British Army are forced to reverse their decison to reward two convicted murderers by handing them back their guns and allowing them to remain in the British Army."

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