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Prosecution of former British soldier over Troubles killing defended

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Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service has defended the decision to prosecute British army veteran Dennis Hutchings over a Troubles shooting.

Mr Hutchings (80) died in hospital in Belfast on Monday after contracting Covid-19, leading unionist politicians to raise concerns that the case against him had been allowed to proceed.

The former member of the Life Guards, had pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of John Pat Cunningham in Co Tyrone in 1974. He also denied a count of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

Mr Cunningham, a 27-year-old with learning difficulties, was shot dead as he ran away from an army patrol near Benburb. People who knew him said he had the mental age of a child and was known to have a deep fear of soldiers.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson had challenged the prosecution service over what new and compelling evidence led to the trial.

Deputy director of public prosecutions Michael Agnew said: “The PPS [Public Prosecution Service] decision to prosecute Mr Hutchings for attempted murder was taken after an impartial and independent application of the test for prosecution.

“The test for prosecution requires a consideration of whether the available evidence provides a reasonable prospect of conviction and, if it does, whether prosecution is in the public interest,” Mr Agnew said.

“Whilst a review of a previous no prosecution decision does not require the existence of new evidence, the police investigation in this case resulted in a file being submitted to the PPS which included certain evidence not previously available.

“In the course of the proceedings there were rulings by High Court judges that the evidence was sufficient to put Mr Hutchings on trial and also that the proceedings were not an abuse of process.”

Mr Agnew said the PPS recognised the “concerns in some quarters” in relation to the decision to bring the prosecution.

He added: “We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Hutchings, and acknowledge their painful loss.

“However, where a charge is as serious as attempted murder, it will generally be in the public interest to prosecute.”

“Our thoughts are also with the family of John Pat Cunningham who have waited for many decades in the hope of seeing due process take its course.”

Mr Hutchings had been suffering from kidney disease, and the court had been sitting only three days a week to enable him to undergo dialysis treatment between hearings.

He was charged with the attempted murder of John Pat Cunningham in Co Tyrone in 1974.

Mr Hutchings died at the Mater Hospital on Monday while in Belfast for the trial. Hours earlier, the trial had been adjourned for three weeks in light of his health.

Mr Donaldson said he had been shocked when the decision was taken to bring the case to trial. “He has been literally dragged before the courts,” he told the BBC.

“Dennis is an honourable man, he wanted to clear his name, he was prepared to go despite the risk to his health but I do think this morning there are serious questions that need to be asked of those who took the decision that it was in the public interest to prosecute this man.”

Mr Donaldson said Mr Hutchings’s actions had been investigated at the time.

“So it is not a question of this being something new, and therefore the question I have for the PPS is what was the new and compelling evidence that meant it was in the public interest to bring an 80-year-old in ill health on dialysis at severe risk to his health before the courts, and I think that is an entirely valid question that I am entitled to ask this morning,” he said.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie has called for a “full and thorough” review into the decision-making of the Public Prosecution Service. – PA

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Tumble-down cottage in Wales is one of the most viewed properties on Zoopla

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A tumbledown cottage in Wales has become one of Britain’s most viewed properties for sale – because it is all about location, location, location.

The rundown three-bed home in a stunning seaside town near Swansea is the second top-viewed property on Zoopla.

It goes up for auction with a £300,000 guide price and auctioneers, Dawsons, expect a bidding war today and tomorrow due to its sought after location.

The cottage is in the village of Reynoldston on the Gower Peninsula which was Britain’s first area of natural outstanding beauty.  

The Gower Peninsula was designated an AONB – area of natural beauty – on May 9, 1956, and today it welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

The Gower peninsula has been a popular tourist destination since the 1950s as it is an area of stunning natural beauty

The Gower peninsula has been a popular tourist destination since the 1950s as it is an area of stunning natural beauty

The property would need a sizable budget and a realistic vision to renovate it as it has become tired over the years

The property would need a sizable budget and a realistic vision to renovate it as it has become tired over the years

The special status has saved the Gower from being overdeveloped while preserving it as a stunning location for generations of visitors and holidaymakers to enjoy.

With easy access to some of Wales’ most stunning beaches and coastline, the house is nestled within the heart of the beloved peninsula which stretches out into the sea.

The village facilities include a Post Office, St.George’s church as well as the King Arthur Hotel.

All of which are just around the corner from the cottage which is also within walking distance of award-winning beaches for plenty of peaceful walks.

Sian Musgrave, head warden, told Wales Online that without the AONB status, development would have been inevitable with more caravan parks and hotels, she said: ‘What is unique about this landscape is that it has been preserved,’ she said.

‘There is a sense that we are all working together to hold onto something very special.’

The house is going to auction with a guide price of £300,000 and is property website Zoopla’s second most-viewed online property across the UK for all of April.

The lone large bathroom of the three bed property is up to date and usable for new owners but may want to revamp it

The lone large bathroom of the three bed property is up to date and usable for new owners but may want to revamp it

The one reception room in the cottage houses a fireplace, stone floor and wooden shelves as well as a sunken window

The one reception room in the cottage houses a fireplace, stone floor and wooden shelves as well as a sunken window

Estate agents Dawsons described it as an ‘opportunity to purchase a delightful detached cottage, situated in a quiet country village of Reynoldston nestled in the heart of Gower.’ 

However, they added: ‘The property requires full renovations and is ideal for investment.’

According to Zoopla, the average asking price for a detached home on Gower peninsula is currently £493,369, with the average sold price overall within the last 12 months standing at £354,613.

The home is in need of a full renovation project both inside and out so the new owner will have to have a good budget and vision for the property.

There is potential to keep horses on site as the house comes with just under an acre of land  surrounding the home, plus there’s separate gated access into the field beyond the front garden, ideal for equestrian use.

The property has acres of land ideal for horses and woodland for plenty of time to enjoy the peaceful Welsh countryside

The property has acres of land ideal for horses and woodland for plenty of time to enjoy the peaceful Welsh countryside

The kitchen houses another fireplace and would need updated appliances and structural work

The kitchen houses another fireplace and would need updated appliances and structural work 

One of the three bedrooms in the house which has a crumbling roof and fatigued interior

One of the three bedrooms in the house which has a crumbling roof and fatigued interior

The floorplan of the cottage shows off the rooms over two floors with plenty of potential for new owners

The floorplan of the cottage shows off the rooms over two floors with plenty of potential for new owners

The cottage has two entrances and two floors as well as wooden furniture and staircase leading up to the bedrooms

The cottage has two entrances and two floors as well as wooden furniture and staircase leading up to the bedrooms

The kitchen measures 2.88m by 3.35m and is in need of some updates to modernise the cottage and bring it up to date

The kitchen measures 2.88m by 3.35m and is in need of some updates to modernise the cottage and bring it up to date

Through a gated entrance there is currently parking for one car at the rear but most of the garden is at the front of the cottage.

It has just over an acre of more land that comes with the house but is not adjacent to it.

This bonus land is mainly woodland and does not have vehicle access but does have pedestrian access.

For cash buyers only, the house is going to auction with Dawsons Property with a guide of £300,000.

Auction registration is now open with the bidding opening on Monday, May 16 at noon and will close on Tuesday, May 17 at noon.

Dawsons estate agents expect a bidding war over the cottage as it is in a beautiful area with a close community

Dawsons estate agents expect a bidding war over the cottage as it is in a beautiful area with a close community 

Another of the three bedrooms in the house which would need attention and modernising to give the cottage a new life

Another of the three bedrooms in the house which would need attention and modernising to give the cottage a new life

The Gower - Britain's first area of natural beauty is a sought after holiday destination so the cottage could be rented out

The Gower – Britain’s first area of natural beauty is a sought after holiday destination so the cottage could be rented out

Woodland and a parcel of land ideal for a paddock comes with the cottage which has acres of potential

Woodland and a parcel of land ideal for a paddock comes with the cottage which has acres of potential

The cottage comes with an acre of land for the new owners to enjoy the Welsh countryside and landscape how they wish

The cottage comes with an acre of land for the new owners to enjoy the Welsh countryside and landscape how they wish

The Gower became preserved after plans for a Butlin's holiday camp were rejected but tourists still flock to the seaside town

The Gower became preserved after plans for a Butlin’s holiday camp were rejected but tourists still flock to the seaside town

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Universities want Leaving Cert moved to May to ease pressure on students

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Universities want Leaving Cert exams to be shifted to May to reduce stress on students and give families more time to find accommodation when college offers are made.

Their comments follow a report in The Irish Times on Monday that Leaving Cert results and college offers may be issued later than the traditional mid-August date.

Students and colleges fear that late results could delay the start of the academic year for thousands of first-year students and results in a last-minute scramble for accommodation.

In a letter to the Minister for Education Norma Foley, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) – which represents eight universities – warned that late results would have a “hugely disruptive” effect on Leaving Cert students’ further study and career options.

Jim Miley, the IUA’s director general, said later than normal results last year resulted in first year students being admitted to third level about three weeks late.

“This meant that the orientation process for first-year students was negatively impacted due to capacity constraints, as all other student cohorts had already returned to college by that time,” he wrote.

“It also resulted in first year students facing an even greater challenge in finding accommodation in an already stressed environment.”

Planning

Mr Miley asked that date be finalised “immediately” to facilitate more orderly planning.

“Even in a ‘normal’ year, results in mid-August are too late. To achieve this, we believe that the final examinations should be brought forward by at least a month, with a similar advance in the results timetable.

The Technological Higher Education Association, which represents technological universities, also warned that delayed entry to higher education would present “quality assurance” issues in relation to a shorter semester for first years, exam pressures, and late publication of timetables for all students.

“Late induction for the first year cohort limits the opportunities for peer interaction with existing students who have returned to class and there is limited availability for academic staff to engage due to teaching commitments,” it said.

“The consequences are not only at an academic management level but for students anticipating the uptake of an offer, early planning in respect of student accommodation remains crucial. Similar consideration attaches to students contemplating a move across international boundaries.”

Education authorities recently told higher education representatives that there are logistical challenges in finalising a date for issuing this year’s results.

These include a deferred sitting of the Leaving Cert exams for Covid-19 reasons and the Government’s decision that the outcomes of this year’s Leaving Cert will on aggregate be “no lower” than last year’s.

Clarity

The Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU) also called for clarity on the results date to given as soon as possible.

ISSU president Emer Neville said it was vital not just for students’ mental health, but also for accommodation deposits and those planning to attend college abroad.

“The ISSU would urge the department to give clarity to these students as soon as possible to mitigate these issues, and also to begin work with international counterparts to ensure students can continue to study abroad should there be delays,” she said.

Ms Neville said the union recognised the importance of the second sitting of exams, which were put in place for students who may fall ill or suffer a bereavement during or before their exams.

“It is vital that the second sitting of exams goes ahead and that they are respected as an important component for the 2022 state exams, they are there for fairness.”

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Ivanhoé Cambridge acquires distribution center in Hamburg (DE)

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Ivanhoé Cambridge has acquired a large logistics and distribution centre from ADF Asset Management Co, Ltd., a South Korea based asset management firm. The property had been in an ADF fund since 2015, whose LPs are large Korean institutional investors. H&M Group, single-tenant since occupancy in 2008, leased the 114,500m² property, ideally located on an approximately 150,000m² site. This H&M Group distribution centre in Hamburg Allermöhe, Rungedamm 38, supplies varied European markets of their store networks. An interdisciplinary and international team of Avison Young investment experts from Germany, the UK and Korea exclusively advised Ivanhoé Cambridge on this transaction.

 

Christian Daumann, Head of Investments Germany, Ivanhoé Cambridge, said: “With the acquisition of this logistics asset in Hamburg, we continue to reinforce our presence in Germany, one of the key markets for our growth in Europe. We are delighted to have worked on this transaction with the experienced team of Avison Young.”

 

Mehdi Patrick Riahy, Managing Director & Head of Capital Markets Germany, Avison Young, commented: “The German and in particular the Hamburg logistics investment market are highly attractive for both domestic and international investors. We are very pleased to have exclusively advised Ivanhoé Cambridge on this landmark transaction and to have had an excellent outcome for both parties.”

 

Penny Hacking, Lead European Capital Markets, Avison Young UK, said: Avison Young’s cross-border investment expertise combined with in-depth regional market knowledge has allowed us to complete this significant transaction, despite a challenging economic climate. We are proud to have advised our client on their first direct logistics acquisition into the German market, which remains highly competitive, as an increasing number of investment companies shift their focus towards the sector. Our strength in collaborating across multiple geographies to provide holistic, data-driven advice has helped secure this year’s largest single asset logistics transaction in Germany to date.”

 

CG Kang, Team Leader, Global Alternative Investment Advisory Division Capital Markets Group, Avison Young Korea, commented: We worked as one team and knowing the exact needs of the seller and buyer helped us to maneuver the deal into right direction for successful closing.”

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