He said many soldiers in his platoon grew rich on cash pilfered from people they stopped and searched.
At that, many of the relatives in court turned and nodded to each other.
They recognised his description of life on Belfast's streets in 1972 all too well.
He said he had done things then he was ashamed of, like punching a civilian in the face because he would not close a door which was throwing light on the soldier's hidden position in a dark street.
Or the time he reversed his armoured vehicle into a cake shop's window, filled up with cakes and drove away.
Only the police and military should have guns.