THE PARACHUTE REGIMENTAL
This is the third update about the Ballymurphy Inquest. The intention of this update is to provide an outline of what is currently happening and what can be expected over the next couple of months.
In the last update we learned the Coroner had asked for 41 members of the Regiment to come to court to provide witness statements. The names of these witnesses have not been shared with RHQ PARA. To date, 16 of the 41 have passed their contact details to RHQ. If you have been asked to attend court and would like our direct support, then please get in touch using the contact details at the bottom of this letter.
- The court did not hear witness statements in January, it dealt with procedural issues.
- In early January, the Coroner made an appeal for more security force witnesses to come forward and the new statements provided by this appeal are currently being examined by the Court Service of Northern Ireland (CSNI).
- During the month of February, the court is due to assess these statements and make decisions on evidential issues including anonymity.
- The Coroner is not thought to start hearing from Regimental witnesses until March.
Travel, Security and Accommodation Briefing
- As a reminder, the Defence Inquest Unit (DIU) have primacy in all matters relating to court and should be your first point of contact. DIU can be contacted at 0207 21 80367.
- Witnesses will receive a detailed briefing from DIU before travelling to Northern Ireland.
- DIU are responsible for booking transport, accommodation and ensuring the security of witnesses.
- If you have been informed that you are to be a witness and haven’t received a briefing yet, you can expect to be contacted shortly.
- RHQ PARA will help with all matters relating to pastoral and welfare support.
- Witness will be offered the option of having a regimental representative travel with them to provide a ‘Veterans friend’ throughout their time in Court.
- If you would like this option, please inform DIU who will make the necessary arrangements with RHQ PARA. We are standing by to assist.
- The ‘veterans friend’ will not be included in any legal briefing nor will he be able to sit in court when evidence is given, but he will be available at all other times.
- If witnesses would prefer to be accompanied by a family member that is fine. A Regimental representative will be available in the court if a need for Regimental support arises.
Corrections to last update.
- Anonymity is not a given, you need to submit a strong reason for being granted it through
your legal representative.
- Only the first group of witnesses have been called to give statements. If you haven’t been asked to attend court yet it doesn’t mean that you may not be called later in this Inquest which is likely to run until at least the end of April.
If you have been affected by the current NI investigations or you know someone who is, please contact Lt Col (Retd) Paul Rodgers NI Legacy Officer, RHQ PARA, Merville Barracks, Colchester, Essex CO2 7UT Tel: Mil: 94660 7072 or Civ: 01206 817072 email: firstname.lastname@example.org