Speaking in the House of Commons, during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 3rd April, Henry asked the Prime Minister a question on the persecution of Northern Ireland veterans. Please see the following link for the full exchange: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-04-03/debates/1CB635BC-0163-4565-AC03-A0F62066442A/Engagements#contribution-C10FDEC2-9668-4258-A89F-B37D7BB791B0
Commenting on his question Henry said: “There were already a number of Northern Ireland veterans who had been arrested for murder or manslaughter in connection with events that took place almost 50 years ago. I have already raised the case of Dennis Hutchings, a former senior NCO in the Life Guards, whose case is still ongoing. Unfortunately, the recent arrest and charging of soldier F in connection with the so-called Bloody Sunday shootings does make this whole situation much more serious.”
As Henry has said before: “What other country in the world would treat their veterans in this way and what sort of signal does it send to young recruits entering the Armed Forces.”
“It is absolutely vital we now find a way of protecting these veterans from what is in my opinion a process that is completely contrary to natural justice. Apart from anything else much of the original evidence would have been destroyed, and furthermore there is very little evidence that the families of victims wish to see all of this dragged up again.”
Henry said there was a way forward involving a change in the law. “This is why I am in close touch with the Attorney General and I am in discussions with him to see whether we can bring in a presumption in favour of innocence once someone has been fully investigated and where there is no new evidence. This would require legislation and it could be combined with all of those cases requiring the Attorney General’s sign-off.”
Henry said that he had been instrumental in setting up the All-Party Support Group for Northern Ireland Veterans. He also said that he has asked for a meeting with the Secretary of State for Defence and other Ministers.