Prosecutors must face probe for putting Dennis Hutchings on trial: Doug Beattie

The decision to put Dennis Hutchings on trial demands an independent review, the Ulster Unionist Party leader has said.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:11 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:27 pm
Captain Doug Beattie, MC, MLA, a former veteran, asks: Did the trial hasten Mr Hutchings' death and did it meet the evidential and public interest tests?

Doug Beattie was speaking on news of the death of Mr Hutchings, a former Life Guard veteran who was on trial for the 1974 killing of John Pat Cunningham.

Mr Beattie MC MLA, said: “I am deeply sorry to hear that Dennis Hutchings has passed away at the Mater Hospital in Belfast. I would like to convey my sincere condolences to Mr Hutchings’ family and friends.

“The decision by the Public Prosecution Service to proceed with a trial given his ill-health demands a full and thorough independent review. The questions must be asked, did this trial hasten Mr Hutchings’ death and did it meet the evidential and public interest tests?

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“Regrettably that will be too late for the Hutchings family and will be of little comfort to them at this time.”

Mr Hutchings, 80, denied attempting to murder John Pat Cunningham, 27, as he ran from an Army patrol near Benburb, County Tyrone, in 1974.

The non-jury trial has been sitting in Belfast for three days each week to allow Mr Hutchings, a Life Guards veteran, to receive dialysis for kidney disease.

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