Trial of former British soldier (80) over Co Tyrone shooting adjourned

Denis Hutchings, who is accused of attempted murder, is in hospital, court told

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings is pictured outside  Laganside Courts, Belfast last week where his trial for attempted murder is taking place. Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

Former British soldier Dennis Hutchings is pictured outside Laganside Courts, Belfast last week where his trial for attempted murder is taking place. Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

 

The trial of British army veteran Dennis Hutchings over a Troubles era shooting has been adjourned for the week because he is in hospital due to ill health.

Mr Hutchings is on trial charged with the attempted murder of John Pat Cunningham in Co Tyrone in 1974. The 80-year-old former member of the Life Guards regiment is also charged with a count of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent. He denies the charges.

Mr Cunningham (27) was shot dead as he ran away from an Army patrol across a field near Benburb. People who knew him said he had the mental age of a child and was known to have a deep fear of soldiers.

Defence barrister James Lewis QC informed Belfast Crown Court of the development as proceedings in the non-jury trial were due to commence on Friday.

He told judge Mr Justice O’Hara that Mr Hutchings had been unable to attend court.

“I regret to say he’s been taken unwell and is presently in hospital,” he said. “And in those circumstances, my lord, I don’t think it’s possible for us to proceed today.”

Justice O’Hara adjourned proceedings until Monday morning. – PA