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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 17:38 GMT
Witness refuses to name gunman
Bloody Sunday
Inquiry investigating who fired first shots in Derry
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry is considering how it should proceed after a witness refused to name a man he saw firing shots at the army.

William Harley is giving evidence to the tribunal about the shooting dead of 13 men by British soldiers during a civil rights demonstration in Londonderry on 30 January 1972.

Another man injured in the shooting, John Johnston, died later.

The army has always maintained that a gunman fired shots before they opened fire.

This is disputed by the bereaved families and civilian witnesses, including the former Bishop of Derry Edward Daly, who gave evidence to the tribunal, sitting in Derry, earlier this week.

High rise view

Mr Harley, who watched the military operation unfold from his home on the top floor of high-rise flats in the city, has described in his statement to the inquiry seeing a man discharge five to six rounds, possibly before troops opened fire.

But he told the tribunal that we would not identify the civilian he saw firing shots, because there was a possibility that he could have been mistaken about the man's identity.

Chairman of the inquiry, Lord Saville, has asked legal representatives of the bereaved families and the soldiers to make submissions about the matter on Thursday afternoon.

A gunman spotted in the Bogside area after the first fatal shooting by the paratroopers was named in another witness statement as Tony Rush - a claim denied by Mr Rush himself, Counsel to the Inquiry, Christopher Clarke QC said.

But Mr Harley refused to comment on this.

'Reveal whole truth'

Reacting to Mr Harley's refusal to give all the information he had to the tribunal, lawyers for relatives of those killed and injured on Bloody Sunday appealed to all witnesses to "break down the wall of silence" surrounding possible IRA activity that day.

They called on anyone withholding information to come forward immediately and tell the whole truth, even if it included unpalatable aspects.

The families said they were "deeply saddened" that some had so far refused to co-operate with the Inquiry, Arthur Harvey QC, said.

The inquiry, established in 1998, has been sitting in public in the Guildhall since March this year and began hearing live witness testimonies a week ago.

To date it has cost in the region of 30m and it is expected to run for at least two more years.

See also:

07 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Shooting victim was 'running away'
06 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
'No threat' to army before shootings
27 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
'Innocents' died on Bloody Sunday
22 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Bloody Sunday 'planned' claim
20 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Inquiry hears murder claim
29 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
IRA man wanted gun on Bloody Sunday
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