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Should ex servicemen be immune from prosecution?

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Jonny Mercer the Tory MP has said that he is going to withdraw his support from the Government. While they can ill afford to lose the support of yet another MP, I think the reasons for his withdrawal of support is interesting, which is why it deserves a thread on its own, rather than be lumped in the Conservative Party thread.  Mercer called on Mrs May to end the "abhorrent process" of "elderly  veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland" to face possible prosecution.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48209591

I disagree with him. I'm too young to remember the Bloody Sunday Massacre, but over the years, I have heard the experiences of people who witnessed relatives being killed by British soldiers who posed no threat. There was a harrowing interview on the radio with an Irish woman, and she was telling that as a girl she  was helping her Mum in the 1970s lay the table for tea, and British soldiers charged into the dining room and shot the mother dead in front of her, and her baby sister. Just awful.

Obviously the service men are elderly now, but what they did as younger men in the army shouldn't make them immune from prosecution. It also adds to the further sense of grievance felt deeply members of the Republican community.

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If there was a case to answer then surely the prosecution should have taken place at the time though?  Not 40 - 50 years later.

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I cannot fathom why it’s taken til 2019 to decide to prosecute.  I know there’s been enquires but if you were going to do something then might have been the time.  And times change. The example you gave sounds horrific in isolation, but what’s the story behind it? We’re they ordered to go in? What or who were they expected to find on the other side of that door? What had happened - if anything - nearby immediately prior to this? I suppose the closest parallel I can think of is when an American cop shoots yet another black person. My gut feeling is that they need prosecuting but there are no shortage of American police getting shot creating a sense of fear in some I suppose.

 

Johnny Mercer always came across quite well, and as ex-army I guess he sees it as his role to defend them. A murder charge seems like a very blunt instrument to find out what happened nearly 50 years ago, but if there’s a case to answer, Theres  a case to answer. They shouldn’t get a free ride. Tricky one!

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I don't think its tricky at all - the timing is irrelevant in terms of whether someone is guilty or not.

 

All that needs to be established is whether a crime took place.

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33 minutes ago, Cyclone said:

If there was a case to answer then surely the prosecution should have taken place at the time though?  Not 40 - 50 years later.

The understanding of those in NI is that many incidents of abuses have been covered up, not investigated properly or are subject to a 'whitewash'.

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41 minutes ago, makapaka said:

I don't think its tricky at all - the timing is irrelevant in terms of whether someone is guilty or not.

 

All that needs to be established is whether a crime took place.

Which, given the circumstances, is a bit tricky. 

9 minutes ago, Mister M said:

The understanding of those in NI is that many incidents of abuses have been covered up, not investigated properly or are subject to a 'whitewash'.

It's not even NI - there were plenty of bent and or racist coppers doing Lord knows what back then across the UK. Different times.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, tinfoilhat said:

Which, given the circumstances, is a bit tricky. 

It's not even NI - there were plenty of bent and or racist coppers doing Lord knows what back then across the UK. Different times.

Yes, quite true. And to an extent corruption and sheer vileness still happens today. It emerged from the official enquiry into child  sex abuse in Rotherham that some officers and those more senior knew that abuse was going on, but nevertheless they turned a blind eye, or worse still, blamed the victims for making 'lifestyle choices'  based on their social background

Edited by Mister M

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Of course ex servicemen should be immune from prosecution. 

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2 minutes ago, Penistone999 said:

Of course ex servicemen should be immune from prosecution. 

In general, or specifically this case?

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28 minutes ago, Mister M said:

The understanding of those in NI is that many incidents of abuses have been covered up, not investigated properly or are subject to a 'whitewash'.

Fair enough, but presumably then we should also be investigating and prosecuting those who gave the orders and those who then covered it up.  Which presumably goes right to the top of the political establishment at the time.  Ultimately the army was there due to political decisions and acting on behalf of parliament.

5 minutes ago, Penistone999 said:

Of course ex servicemen should be immune from prosecution. 

Blanket?  So if they do for example, decide to torture some enemy prisoner, or even a British civilian,  that should never be prosecuted?

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15 minutes ago, Penistone999 said:

Of course ex servicemen should be immune from prosecution. 

You sure? I recall the defence of “just following orders” was used to justify some of the most heinous crimes in history. 

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There was enough evidence, statements and reports made at the time to justify the prosecution.

The Inquiries at that time were limited by their scope and the evidence they could see.

The Inquiries were of the "fact finding" type and were never the "recommendation".

 

The Inquiries were slowed down as many others have been since.

The Inquiries and prevented a full Inquest for decades.

The Saville Inquiry interviewed, soldiers and witnesses from 2003 and was able to access  evidence and statements previously denied to other inquiries.

 

More recently it has been decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge Soldier F with murder.

 

No soldier in the world, should be a)free from explaining their actions and  b)quite differently -justify their actions.

 

The deaths of British civilians at the hands of British Soldiers on British Territory is  needs an even higher level of scrutiny.

 

 

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