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DUP hits out at prosecution of army veteran who died from Covid

prosecution

DUP hits out at prosecution of army veteran who died from Covid

Serious questions need to be raised about the prosecution of an 80-year-old army veteran over a fatal shooting during Northern Ireland’s troubles, the Democratic Unionist party leader has said, following the death of the former soldier from Covid on Monday evening.

Dennis Hutchings, who had denied killing 27-year-old John Pat Cunningham in 1974, was three days into his trial in Belfast when he contracted the virus. He had kidney disease and was on dialysis.

The DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, said: “There now stands serious questions around those who made the decision that Dennis should stand trial once more. He was honourable. He wanted to clear his name again but was dragged to a court and hounded until his death.

“This is a sad indictment on those who want to rewrite history but also demands serious questions of the Public Prosecution Service about how this trial was deemed to be in the public interest.”

Hutchings’ death has reopened the controversy over legacy prosecutions that the government is proposing to end with new legislation.

Hutchings, from Cawsand, Torpoint in Cornwall, denied the charges and had said he wanted to clear his name. Earlier this month, his lawyers said he had taken a case alleging a breach of the Human Rights Act to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg on the grounds that military veterans had been subjected to discriminatory treatment.

“It’s too late for me [not to face trial] but it’s not too late for the government to do the right thing for all those veterans who served to maintain peace in Northern Ireland and who continue to live in fear of a knock on the door.

“But if the government won’t act or listen to the veterans and the British people, then I hope Strasbourg will,” Hutchings said at the time.

The DUP and the other main political parties are united in their opposition to new laws that would “remove all judicial recourse for innocent victims”, but it had questioned the weight of evidence for bringing the veteran to trial.

“Whilst understanding the desire of the Cunningham family for justice, we have consistently challenged those in legal authority who insisted that Dennis stand trial again. He was an 80-year-old veteran, in ill-health on dialysis and there was a lack of compelling new evidence.”

The court had heard that the prosecution had accepted that the case against Hutchings was largely circumstantial as no forensic evidence to identify which bullets struck Cunningham was collected.

However, the prosecutor said the shooting could “never be lawful or justified” and the 27-year-old was unarmed and not posing a threat. He was an adult with learning difficulties and had “the mind of a child”, the court heard.

In a statement, the Traditional Unionist Voice leader, Jim Allister, said the prosecution was “needless” and “cruel” with Hutchings “requiring regular dialysis, while being brought to Belfast to face a trial of dubious provenance”.

The Conservative MP Johnny Mercer, who has campaigned against prosecutions for legacy killings and had travelled to Belfast to support the former soldier, had called the trial a “grotesque experience” for Hutchings.

 

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Health

12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Health

Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

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Health

Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

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