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Veterans Fury as Troubles killing charge against Dennis Hutchings is re-instated by prosecutors

Prosecutors have re-instated attempted murder charges against an elderly soldier for a Troubles killing in 1974. In March a judge had said there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the charge against Dennis Hutchings, 76, over the shooting of John-Pat Cunningham.

But on Friday the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) brought back the charge, prompting an outcry among unionist politicians and veterans. The News Letter asked the PPS why they had re-instated the charge and whether the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Barra McGrory was involved in the decision.

They did not answer those two questions, and a spokesperson gave us the following statement: “The prosecution can confirm that the indictment presented at the Crown Court in this case includes the charge of attempted murder. “As this case is currently before the courts it would be inappropriate to comment further. All decisions are taken in strict accordance with the PPS Code for Prosecutors.

Even so, the outgoing Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim Danny Kinahan, a former Army officer who has campaigned on behalf of Northern Ireland veterans, said: “Barra McGrory’s reign as Director of Public Prosecutions has run its course and for the sake of public confidence, he should pack his bags and get out of the Public Prosecutor’s office.

We recorded Dennis Hutchings speech in London on Good Friday 14th April.

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