Danny Kinahan: Opposing bail for elderly soldier is an affront to decency

Soldiers and police face courts, not terrorists
Soldiers and police face courts, not terrorists

I want to express my outrage at the treatment of Corporal Major Dennis Hutchings, in his bid to have his bail conditions varied.

He was described as a potential flight risk.

I have long voiced my anger at the hounding of former soldiers whilst paramilitary gang members enjoy a life free of the fear of paying for their crimes.

Now we see a man in his 70s who served his country, often putting his life on the line carrying out dangerous daily tasks that protected the people of Northern Ireland, being opposed at a court hearing on Tuesday in his right to go on holiday with his wife.

I would like to know what flight risk Corporal Major Dennis Hutchings supposedly poses.

What we are seeing here is a complete loss of proportionality and decency, not to mention common sense. His treatment is in stark contrast to the varying of bail conditions for terrorist suspects and the system needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

As I have always said, no-one should be above the law, whether they are from a paramilitary background or from the security forces. But we must see a fair and balanced approach to the past, where those who committed crimes are brought before the courts and the focus is not almost exclusively on those who were from the Police or Army.

It would appear that we have reached the situation where the ludicrous and the farcical is now the rule and not the exception in dealing with these cases.

This cannot be allowed to continue

Danny Kinahan MP, South Antrim

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