| 8.3°C Dublin

not guilty plea British Army veteran goes on trial over Troubles killing of man with learning difficulties

Dennis Hutchings is a high-profile campaigner against the prosecution of military veterans who served in Northern Ireland during the conflict

Close

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings. Picture: PA

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings. Picture: PA

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings. Picture: PA

The trial of a British Army veteran on charges related to a fatal shooting during the Northern Ireland Troubles is set to begin.

Dennis Hutchings (80) a former member of the Life Guards regiment, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of John Pat Cunningham in Co Tyrone in 1974. He also denies a count of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

Mr Cunningham, a 27-year-old man with learning difficulties, was shot dead as he ran away from an Army patrol near Benburb.

Hutchings, from Cawsand in Cornwall, is a high-profile campaigner against the prosecution of military veterans who served in Northern Ireland during the conflict.

Close

John Pat Cunningham. Picture: PA

John Pat Cunningham. Picture: PA

John Pat Cunningham. Picture: PA

 

The pensioner is suffering from kidney disease and the trial at Belfast Crown Court will only sit three days a week to enable him to undergo dialysis treatment between hearings.

In 2019, Hutchings lost a Supreme Court bid to have the trial heard by a jury.

The non-jury trial in Belfast will be presided over by Mr Justice O'Hara.

It had originally been scheduled to commence in March 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trial is taking place amid ongoing political controversy over UK Government plans to end any future prosecutions related to the Troubles.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy