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NUJ condemns judge's decision to ban reporting of Bloody Sunday murder hearing

THE National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned a judge’s “alarming” decision to ban reporting of a Bloody Sunday murder hearing and called for the restriction to be overturned.

The ban relates to the case of Soldier F, the only member of the British armed forces to be charged in relation to the fatal shooting of 13 civilians by the Parachute Regiment’s First Battalion in Derry on January 30 1972.

District Judge Ted Magill’s decision bars the media from reporting the opening statements by the prosecution and defence and all witness testimonies, claiming that their publication would be against the public interest.

He said: “I realise that means a rather thin news day for the media, but it is not a question of choice, it is a question of law.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet criticised the “alarming ruling,” arguing that it “goes against the principle of open justice and the need for the criminal justice system to operate in public and be subject to public scrutiny.

She insisted that “this judgement must be overturned.”

Solider F is charged with the murder of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murder of Patrick O’Donnell, Joseph Friel, Joe Mahon and Michael Quinn.

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