I didn’t notice the media giving much coverage to this comment from the judge at last week’s trial and acquittal of two British soldiers for the murder of OIRA leader Joe McCann in 1972 – although I may be wrong.
This is what the judge, James O’Hara said about how the authorities treated the soldiers in the aftermath of McCann’s death:
‘At that time, in fact until late 1973, an understanding was in place between the RUC and the Army whereby the RUC did not arrest and question, or even take witness statements from, soldiers involved in shootings such as this one. This appalling practice was designed, at least in part, to protect soldiers from being prosecuted and in very large measure it succeeded.’
Doesn’t that qualify in effect as a licence to kill? And a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice? Appropriately, the judge described the practice as ‘appalling’.