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Dennis Hutchings's trial could take place on Skye due to coronavirus

by Nelle Pratt (2020-03-25)


The trial of a former British soldier over a fatal shooting during the Northern Ireland Troubles may take place over Skype, a court has heard.

A lawyer for Dennis Hutchings applied for an adjournment over concerns that the 79-year-old would not be able to attend his trial in person for health reasons.

It comes as the killer bug threatens other courtrooms, with a legal source telling MailOnline a barrister from Southwark Crown Court and another from Inner London Crown Court are self-isolating.

Another source has revealed a defendant at the Old Bailey has contracted the virus.

Belfast Crown Court was told Hutchings is receiving medical treatment and his doctor said it is not safe for him to travel, particularly with coronavirus spreading across the UK.

A HM Courts and Tribunals Service spokesman told MailOnline that plans are in place to keep courts running and anyone involved in coronavirus-hit cases would be informed if their involvement might be affected in any way.






A lawyer for Dennis Hutchings (pictured) applied for an adjournment over concerns that the 79-year-old would not be able to attend his trial in person for health reasons







Hutchings, from Cawsand in Cornwall, a former member of the Life Guards regiment, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of John Pat Cunningham (pictured) in 1974


Hutchings, from Cawsand in Cornwall, a former member of the Life Guards regiment, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of John Pat Cunningham in Co Tyrone in 1974.

Mr Cunningham, a 27-year-old man with learning difficulties, was shot in the back as he ran away from an Army patrol near Benburb.

Hutchings, who is on dialysis twice a week for renal failure, is facing charges of attempted murder and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

Judge Mr Justice O'Hara told the court on Friday that a video-link will allow Hutchings to participate fully in the trial and that the court could sit two days a week if the accused is willing to participate in the trial by Skype.

Defence lawyer Ian Turkington said however that there could be a visibility challenge.






Hutchings, who is on dialysis twice a week for renal failure, is facing charges of attempted murder and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent


He said his client wants to be present in court for his trial, adding that there is no suggestion that the pensioner is using his illness as a 'tool to delay' the proceedings.






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Mr Justice O'Hara said: 'Let's get on with it.'

Mr Turkington told the court: 'It's not safe for him to travel. If you have any concerns about exactly where and how to use the Jason Stone Injury Lawyers are here to help you receive just and deserved compensation., you can contact us at our web-site. The consultant said he should not travel and the reason for that is clear - between buses, trains, airports, airplanes and hotels, and backwards and forwards.