John Patrick Cunningham: An Apology from the British government

KRW LAW LLP is instructed on behalf of the family of John Patrick Cunningham. John Patrick Cunningham (27) was shot by the British Army on 15th June 1974 Carrickness, Benburb.


On 17th January 2013 Andrew Robathan MP, then Minister of State for Northern Ireland, wrote to the family of John Patrick Cunningham with an apology on behalf of the British government.  He quoted the opinion of the PSNI HET that this was a death that was an absolute tragedy and should not have happened and that he now hoped that the record of this tragic event could be set straight.


In addition to the well-publicised prosecution of former British Army soldier Dennis Hutchings for the attempted murder of John Patrick Cunningham which will take place in Belfast later this year and is fully supported by the family of John Patrick Cunningham, there is also pending civil litigation being taken on behalf of the family by KRW LAW LLP.


Solicitor Rosie Kinnear states:


“An independent decision was taken by the PPS that there was enough evidence to bring Dennis Hutchings to trial for the attempted murder of John Patrick Cunningham.


Prosecution of an alleged perpetrator or offender is one outcome of a human rights compliant investigation following a violation of the right to life.


Another outcome is by way of a civil action against the state agencies responsible for the violation and the subsequent investigation. In this instance KRW LAW LLP have issued a Letter of Claim and we plan to issue a writ for negligence, misfeasance in public office, unlawful killing, trespass to the person and a breach of Mr Cunningham’s right to life under Article 2 of the ECHR. This action will be taken against the MOD, the Chief Constable and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.


The apology of the British government is an indicator of the need to pursue this civil action in addition to criminal proceedings on behalf of the family of John Patrick Cunningham.”