Damages case hears Bloody Sunday injured felt stigma for years

Posted By: September 26, 2018

Bloody Sunday led to years of stigma suffered by those injured in the British army shootings

newslink@newslink.co.uk Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, September 26, 2018
A MAN shot in the face on Bloody Sunday had to endure the stigma of “guilt by association” for decades until a major inquiry established his innocence, the High Court has heard.

Injuries inflicted on Michael Quinn as a schoolboy were exacerbated by the insult and humiliation of false military insinuations about those killed or wounded by soldiers in Derry in January 1972, a judge was told.

His barrister argued that it took nearly 40 years for the truth to be exposed at the tribunal chaired by Lord Saville.

Brian Fee QC said: “The plaintiff is making the case that he felt from 1972 until 2010 that he had been, as he said, tarred with being guilty by association.”

Thirteen people were shot dead when paratroopers opened fire on civil rights demonstrators during what became known as Bloody Sunday.

One of the others wounded on the day died later.

Claims have been brought against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) by those bereaved or wounded.

With liability accepted, three test cases have been selected for arguments on the level of damages.

Now aged 63 and having forged a successful career in banking, Mr. Quinn still bears the scars of what happened on Bloody Sunday.

He was a 17-year-old A-level student hit in the face by a bullet as he tried to reach cover at Glenfada Park.

In his evidence, he recalled feeling an “explosion” of bone and blood and being so badly wounded that he received the Last Rites in hospital.

Mr. Quinn’s wife, Marie, described how he had been left with an “overwhelming sadness” at what he went through.

Since then, the court heard, he has experienced heightened fear for the safety of their own three children.

Mr. Justice McAlinden was told the stigma of blame was finally lifted when the Saville Inquiry’s findings were published.

“Just hearing the words ‘Michael Quinn – innocent’, it was enormous,” his wife added.

According to Mr. Fee, pay-outs should be made for his client’s facial injuries, the misconduct of the soldiers, and punitive damages for the continued lies about what happened.

“Saville just demolished the Ministry of Defence case,” the barrister argued.

“This was not a vicious gun battle; this was not a situation where people were shot because they had been involved in something or were very close to people involved in something.

“This is a situation where people were shot without the slightest justification.”

The hearing continues.