Ruling puts British Army under pressure to discharge killers
The mother of a young Catholic man shot dead by British soldiers has
called on the British army to get rid of them after judges ruled in
In the Court of Appeal in Belfast three judges decided by 2-1 that the
British Army was wrong not to throw out two soldiers convicted of
murdering Peter McBride (18) in 1992.
The two soldiers were convicted of murdering Peter McBride near his
home in the New Lodge area of Belfast. They were sentenced to life
imprisonment, but were released after three years and rejoined their
The McBride family have for years been challenging the decision by the
British Army to continue to employ Guardsmen Fisher and Wright even
though they had been convicted of Mr. McBride's murder.
But Lords Justice Nicholson and McCollum stopped short of ordering the
British Army to dismiss Mark Wright and James Fisher. Instead they made
a legal declaration that the reasons adopted by the Army Board were not
so exceptional as to permit the retention of the two soldiers.
A dissenting judgment was delivered by the Lord Chief Justice, Sir
Robert Carswell, who held that the Army Board was entitled in law to
reach the conclusion it did.
As a result of this judgment the Army Board will have to reconsider the
case yet again.
Five human rights organisations welcomed the judgement.
A spokesperson for Amnesty International, British Irish Rights Watch,
the Committee on the Administration of Justice, the Pat Finucane
Centre and Liberty said:- "It is clear that in deciding not to
discharge Guardsmen Fisher and Wright, the army has thus far failed to
recognise the gravity of the human rights violation which they
committed. The decision to "exceptionally" retain the two soldiers
the armed forces has fostered impunity and undermined effective
redress for the victim's family."
Outside the court Mrs Jean McBride said she was "absolutely delighted".
"Two senior judges have said more or less that it is illegal for
soldiers to still be in the army," she said.
"Now I am calling on governments everywhere, the British Ministry
Defence and everyone else to insist that these men be removed from the
army right away.
"I believe today's decision is more than a broad hint to the army
take such action."