• November 25, 2017

A former soldier is claiming that he will not get a fair trial from the Courts in the North of Ireland. Denis Hutchings from Cornwall is charged with the attempted murder of a 27 year old man (John Cunningham) with learning difficulties near Benburb in South Armagh in 1974.

The claim that a fair trial cannot be achieved will come as something of a surprise to the United Kingdom government which has defended the justice system in the North for many years as being ‘rigorous and fair’.

The claim also seems extraordinary given that the generally objective US State Department ‘Global Human Rights’ report says in its most current report on the UK

‘The law provides for the right to a fair trial, and an independent judiciary routinely enforced this right.’

I note in my 1974 volume of Deutsch and Magowan’s ‘Chronology Of Events for 1974’ the incident in June at Carrickaness near Benburb is recorded.

The British Army said that he was shot because he was ‘thought to be drawing a weapon’ although ‘no weapon was found’ the victim’s mental age is recorded as ‘about ten years’ . The report suggests that the Assembly Member Austin Currie was urging the UK government to hold an independent enquiry and RUC detectives were investigating. That was 40 years ago it seems this incident is well overdue for judicial scrutiny.



Image: Austin Currie (Nationalist MP, Assembly Member and later a TD in the Irish Parliament and Minister of State for Justice) asked for an enquiry into the tragedy over forty years ago.

Bernard Moffatt
pp Celtic League


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