Northern Ireland News

Third Legal Bid to Have Pair Ousted from Army
Dec 3 2003

By Ivan McMichael

THE mother of Peter McBride, who was murdered by two Scottish
soldiers in Belfast in 1992, launched a third legal bid yesterday to
get them thrown out of the Army.

Scots Guards Mark Wright and James Fisher served only three years of a life sentence and are still in their regiment, despite a majority
decision in the Appeal Court last June that the Army was wrong not
to discharge them.

Jean McBride, mother of Peter, 18, who was shot near his home in the New Lodge area, is challenging the refusal of the Armed Forces
Minister to review the soldiers' status in the light of the decision
by two appeal judges.

In the High Court in Belfast yesterday Seamus Treacy, QC, said a
mandatory requirement of Queen's Regulations was that a soldier
sentenced to imprisonment must be discharged.

The only derogation was if "exceptional circumstances" could be

He said the effect of the appeal court judgment was that there were no exceptional circumstances and therefore the Minister was wrong in deciding that the Army was not compelled to take action.

Mr Treacy said the judgement provided the army with the freedom to decide what action to take, not the freedom to take no action at all.

Paul Maguire, BL, countered that the appeal court's majority
decision intended to draw a line under the controversy engendered by the retention of the soldiers in the Army and the Minister had not
acted unlawfully when he decided not to revise their status.

Mr Justice Weir said the appeal court had not quashed the Army's
decision to retain the soldiers and added: "We have to stop going
round in circles."

He said he would like time to reflect on the application for leave
to apply for a judicial review and would give his decision towards
the end of the week.

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