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Monday, July 6, 1998 Published at 22:11 GMT 23:11 UK


Review for jailed soldiers

The scene of the shooting in north Belfast

The Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam is to launch a further review of the cases of two Scots Guardsmen who were jailed for life for shooting a young man in Belfast.

James Fisher, 27, and Mark Wright, 22, were convicted of murdering 19-year-old Peter McBride in the street in 1992. Mr McBride was shot after he ran away from the soldiers, who had stopped him for routine questioning.

[ image: James Fisher, jailed for the Belfast shooting]
James Fisher, jailed for the Belfast shooting
A campaign to free the pair launched last year has recently been stepped up since the controversial release of IRA killers to take part in the peace process referendum. Supporters say the guardsmen did not commit a premeditated killing.

Junior Ulster Minister Lord Dubs told the Lords in a debate on the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Bill that Ms Mowlam was reviewing the cases "in the light of correspondence she has received from the guardsmen's solicitors."

Ms Mowlam said in a statement: "I have received papers on the case and will be considering those papers during the next few weeks.

"The papers which have to be considered are extensive. They include those of the court, previous advice from the Life Sentence Review Board, my own previous decisions and the various judicial review judgements. They must be given full and detailed consideration.

The campaign won't be ignored

[ image: Regimental colleagues have supported the jailed pair]
Regimental colleagues have supported the jailed pair
"I will also take account of the many representations I have received regarding the case."

She added: "I cannot prejudge any decisions which I may make as a consequence of this further review, but when a decision has been made I will make it known."

The Court of Appeal dismissed pleas by the men against conviction and sentence in December 1995 and they were refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords in March 1996.

Their cases are scheduled to be considered by the Life Sentence Review Board in October this year.

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