25 October 2017
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has raised questions about the way in which prosecutions are taken forward in legacy cases following the Chief Constable’s appearance before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Parliament this morning.
DUP Spokesman on International Development and Cabinet Office
Following questioning by Mr Campbell, the Chief Constable revealed some of the reasons Mayor of Donegal and Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry McMonagle was not currently wanted for questioning into the murder of part-time UDR soldier Lexi Cummings in 1982. The age and health of witnesses were part of the reasoning. Because of this a view was reached that there was no reasonable prospect of prosecution.
Mr Campbell then raised questions how this approach differed from other legacy cases. Commenting afterwards he said, “Gerry McMonagle fled Northern Ireland having been arrested and charged with the murder of Lexi Cummings.
Today the Chief Constable outlined a number of reasons why this individual is not currently being sought by police for questioning about THIS murder. These included the loss of exhibits relating to the crime as well as the passage of time impacting upon witnesses, with some having passed away and others being in ill-health.
The passage of time and the impact upon witnesses appears to have had little bearing on potential legal action taken against soldiers for events in Londonderry in January 1972 despite it occurring a full ten years before the murder of Mr Cummings. Many will ask “if witnesses are unlikely to be in a position to testify in the Cummings case because of a 35 year time lapse, how then will witnesses in the Bloody Sunday case be able to do after 45 years?”
This is an issue that lies with the Public Prosecution Service, from whom we need to hear.”
Mr Campbell also said the police need to pursue any individual if they were linked to crimes. His comments came after the Chief Constable’s remarks in relation to Gerry McMonagle.
“On a number of occasions today comments from the Chief Constable left an inference with both myself and other members of the Committee that Cllr McMonagle could be linked to other crimes during the Troubles.
It is vital that if there is evidence in any case pointing to Gerry McMonagle as a suspect the police need to take steps to interview him regarding any alleged terrorist activity."