A military veteran has been found guilty of the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie, who was killed over 30 years ago.
David Jonathan Holden, 53, was charged with McAnespie’s manslaughter at Belfast Crown Court in February 1988.
The 23-year-old was shot in the back at an army checkpoint in Northern Ireland in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone.
A bullet, fired from about 300m away, ricocheted off the road surface and hit McAnespie in the back just after he passed through a border checkpoint on his way to a local Gaelic Athletic Association club.
In 2009, the UK government said his death was a matter of “deep regret”.
Mr Holden, an English soldier who was 18 at the time, insisted it was an accident, claiming his hands were wet and his finger slipped on the trigger of his machine gun.
He was charged with manslaughter in 1988, but the charges were later dropped. But the trial judge, Mr Justice O’Hara, said he was satisfied beyond a doubt that Mr Holden was guilty of grossly negligent manslaughter.
He said Mr Holden should have realized the consequences of his actions from the moment he pulled the trigger.
The case was tried in diplock format without a jury meeting. Holden supporters gathered outside the courthouse each day the trial took place.
The trial came amid ongoing controversy over government plans to come to terms with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.
The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill proposals offer effective amnesty for those suspected of killings during the conflict if they agree to work with a new body to be known as the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery ( Icrir) is known.
The law would also prohibit future civil trials and investigations related to troubles crimes.