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Dennis Hutchings is Innocent!

Dennis Hutchings is


Mr Dennis Hutchings is appearing in Court in Belfast on 16th June 2017 charged with attempted murder and grievous bodily harm. The incident cited took place in Northern Ireland in 1974, forty-three years ago and has been investigated on several occasions since. These investigations were conducted by the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1974/75 and the Historical Enquiries Team of the Police Service of Northern Ireland between 2008 and 2011. He was exonerated on both occasions of any wrongdoing.

Recently he appeared in court in Armagh where the Judge threw out the charge for attempted murder only for Mr Barra McGrory the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland to have the charge reinstated along with a lesser charge of grievous bodily harm. The lesser charge is often used as a fall back by the prosecutor. If during the case he or she feels that the first offence is likely to fail they will offer to drop the charge provided the defendant pleads guilty to the lesser offence.

James Brokenshire the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has stated that ‘Criminal investigations are a matter for the police service of Northern Ireland who act independently of Government and Politicians.’ If that were the case then it would mean that the PSNI could operate with impunity because the Government would not be able to question their motives and actions. It is the same mealy-mouthed dogma that many Conservative and Labour MP’s have been spouting for the past year in their responses to concerned constituents. After Mr Hutchings appearance in court in Armagh Mr Brokenshire later stated ‘The current system for investigating historical crimes is not working for anyone’. It certainly isn’t working for him; his office has been recently overwhelmed with written complaints by concerned members of the public.

The possibility of a coalition government between the Conservative Party and the DUP can only be viewed as encouraging for all the veterans under investigation. The DUP are the only political party that has had the courage to openly support the Northern Ireland veteran’s campaign and recognise that it is the duty of government to prevent or correct injustice.

It is the Government’s duty to interfere when the law is used for malicious or political purposes. To suggest that a police service can operate without the oversight of the government is frankly ridiculous because it sets the police above the law. For the DPP to repeatedly seek guilty verdicts on individuals who were serving the state and were previously investigated and exonerated is malicious prosecution and infringes the human rights of the defendants.

There is a political motive behind this prosecution that stems from Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein have a long term agenda with only one ambition to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and make it a part of Eire their acolytes repeatedly threaten a return to violence if their demands are not met.

The prosecution of Dennis Hutchings is one small part of that political agenda.

Sinn Fein are rewriting history and convincing the youth of Northern Ireland that the British Army occupied Ulster and committed terrible atrocities. Any objective historical investigation will show that the primary purpose of the commitment of troops to Ulster was to support the police and to protect the Catholic population. Poor decisions and poor policies by subsequent UK governments allowed the situation to deteriorate. The quagmire of Northern Irish politics is fraught with hate and bigotry and in some areas of Ulster - nothing has changed.

Peace is not the absence of war it is the absence of injustice. What is happening to Dennis Hutchings in Belfast on Friday is another injustice heaped on the many thousands that have gone before. The investigation alone is an injustice and even if Dennis is exonerated the effect of the investigation will have been deeply stressful to him and his family.

He was held in custody by the PSNI for three days and interviewed twenty-six times. That style of oppressive interrogation would be more suited to the prisons of the former Soviet Union than a modern European police force. Decent police officers should not be forced to be part of such repugnant and immoral behaviour because they were ‘only doing their job’ this reasoning reflects other authorities from the past who claimed that they were ‘only obeying orders’.

This prosecution is morally wrong and is a test case for the future prosecution of other former soldiers. It is also a test case for the future direction of Northern Ireland - the choice between right and wrong.

Dennis Hutchings is a political prisoner – Mr Dennis Hutchings is innocent!

Robin Horsfall

June 11th 2017.

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