26 May 2006

Local GP recalls Bloody Sunday evidence 'distress'

Derry Journal

26 May 2006

DR. RAYMOND McClean - who attended most of the post mortem examinations of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday - has spoken for the first time of the "emotional distress" he experienced while giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry.

The retired Derry GP claims he was "unfairly treated" during his testimony to the probe in December 2001.
Speaking to the 'Journal' this week, Dr. McClean - who told the Saville tribunal that some of the Bloody Sunday dead may have been shot by deliberately tampered 'dum dum' bullets - claimed his credibility as a witness had been called into question during his evidence.
"On an emotional basis," he said, "I left the witness box distressed and totally fatigued.
"I felt that, for the first time in my professional career, my personal integrity had been very seriously attacked. I also felt that I had been left with no adequate means of reply or redress."
During his evidence, claims Dr. McClean, he endured a particularly "lengthy and arduous cross examination" from Edwin Glasgow QC - senior counsel for most of the British soldiers at the Inquiry.
This cross-examination, says the GP, left him "physically exhausted."
This, he says, was in direct contrast to his testimony to the Cameron, Himsworth and Scarman probes which took place in the late 1960s.
"In each of these investigations I felt entirely comfortable, in that I was allowed to give my evidence without hindrance and was treated with respect at all times.
"My experience in giving evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry was entirely different."
Dr. McClean - who had no personal legal representation at the Inquiry - believes he received no "protection" during his evidence to the tribunal.
He added: "My experience at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry is probably best explained by focusing on its logical and emotional aspects.
"Turning to the logical experience, I left the witness box frustrated and with the clear understanding that I had not been given the opportunity to put forward evidence which had come to my attention since I had submitted my original written statement to the tribunal."
Emotionally, he says, he was treated unfairly with the "major emphasis" being to question his credibility as a witness.
Tribunal chairman, Lord Saville, however, expressed the opinion that the doctor had not been 'unfairly treated."
Dr. McClean says he has since written to the Inquiry seeking an apology.
"No apology has, as yet been received," he said. "However, I shall continue to live in hope."

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