Basil Kelly

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Sir Basil Kelly (1920-2008) was Attorney-General for Northern Ireland 1968-72 and later a senior member of the Northern Ireland judiciary.[1]


J.M. Parkin, of the Ministry of Defence's C2 (Army Department) met Kelly in 1971, and wrote in an official memo:

The Attorney-General told me that he had before him recommendations from the police that a soldier should be tried for manslaughter arising out of the death of Mrs Sarah Worthington in Belfast and that another should be tried for the murder of a man named Mc Greanery in Londonderry. His provisional view was that no action was called for in the Belfast case and that manslaughter at most would be appropriate in the Londonderry incident. Indeed, he felt that the latter properly called for no charge at all. He promised to advise us if he felt that action in either case was called for. I have no doubt that the Attorney General is doing all within his power to protect the security forces against criminal proceedings in respect of actions on duty. He must, however, preserve an impartial approach and is worried about the possibility of private criminal proceedings should he fail to act in cases where inactivity could hardly be justified. Given his delicate position this is understandable. I am however satisfied there is no need to remind him of the danger to morale inherent in prosecutions of soldiers or policemen.[2]

External resources



  1. Sir Basil Kelly: Judge who presided over one of the biggest IRA 'supergrass' trials, Independent, 12 December 2008.
  2. J.M. Parkin, Memo dated 6 December 1971, archived by the Pat Finucane Centre.