Bid to name still-living soldier in Army killing inquest

Helen Deery, the sister of Manus Deery with her son Sean, holding an image of Manus.
Helen Deery, the sister of Manus Deery with her son Sean, holding an image of Manus.

The coroner who is overseeing an inquest into the 1972 shooting death of a 15-year-old boy is to consider a bid to lift the anonymity of a soldier who has given evidence in the case.

Soldier A, who fired the fatal shot in Londonderry on May 19, 1972, has already been revealed to be William Glasgow.

He is dead.

However, acting on instructions from the family of victim – Londonderry boy Manus Deery - an application has now been made to have the name of Soldier B also revealed.

Last week Soldier B had given evidence to the court screened from the public and the press, but visible to the Deery family.

A legal representative for the Deery family contended that since Soldier B had now left Northern Ireland and he was not going to be required to return to this jurisdiction to give further evidence or for any other reason in the future that an increased risk to his security had now passed.

Senior Counsel for the MoD and the PSNI at the inquest, Martin Wolfe, was asked by Lord Justice Colton if he had sought any instruction from Soldier B in relation for the request to lift the anonymity order on him.

Mr Wolfe said that he had not had the opportunity to do so because of the lateness of the application to remove the anonymity order.

He said: ”I think counsel is playing fast and loose with the fairness of these proceedings.

“Granting anonymity undoubtedly had a calming effect for him (Soldier B) to come to Northern Ireland and give his evidence. To take that from him smacks of a certain unfairness.

“As we move into this legacy process this will impact on the confidence of soldiers in coming to Northern Ireland.”

Mr Wolfe also stated that another objection he had to the anonymity order being rescinded was because of recent inaccurate reporting in the press that attributed Soldier B having ordered to Soldier A to fire the fatal single round.

“Things have therefore changed. He was granted anonymity and screening but things have changed now because of inaccurate reporting. So I would oppose this application,” said Mr Wolfe.

Mr Justice Colton said that he would consider all the points made on the anonymity application and then give his determination on it.

Evidence hearing in the Manus Deery inquest will conclude on Wednesday with the final witness, journalist Kevin Myers due to take the stand.

A video clip of Mr Meyer’s news report for RTE on May 20, 1972, from the scene where Manus Deery was struck by the round fired by William Glasgow has been repeatedly shown throughout the inquest.