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Kincora Boys Home Belfast: Court decision to not include case in UK-wide Goddard inquiry is 'perverse' claims UUP leader

By Alan Erwin

Published 08/04/2016

House of horrors: The former Kincora Boys' home on the Upper Newtonards Road, Belfast
House of horrors: The former Kincora Boys' home on the Upper Newtonards Road, Belfast

An abuse victim has lost his High Court battle to have claims that senior politicians, businessmen and high-level British state agents connived in a paedophile ring at a notorious Belfast care home examined by a Westminster inquiry.

Dismissing Gary Hoy's bid to judicially review the decision to keep the probe into the Kincora scandal within the remit of a Stormont-commissioned body, Mr Justice Treacy said: "The present application is premature and misconceived."

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has expressed his disappointment, and claimed the decision is "perverse logic"

Mr Hoy's lawyers had argued that the ongoing Historical Instiutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry sitting in Banbridge is powerless to properly scrutinise a "closed order" surrounding the home. 

With MI5 accused of covering up the sexual abuse throughout the 1970s to protect an intelligence-gathering operation, it was claimed that the current arrangements cannot compel the security services to hand over documents or testify.

The court was told that the security service shielded and blackmailed child sex abusers involved in the abuse at Kincora.

Calls for full scrutiny of the suspected systemic molestation and prostitution of vulnerable youngsters at Kincora has grown ever since three senior staff were jailed in 1981 for abusing boys in their care.

It has long been suspected that well-known figures within the British establishment, including high-ranking civil servants and senior military officers, were involved.

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Kincora: Why London must not be allowed to suppress the awful truth  

The Government has so far refused to include Kincora within the scope of a child abuse inquiry established by Home Secretary Theresa May and headed by New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard.

Despite the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee recommending Justice Goddard's remit be extended to cover the east Belfast home, Mrs May has said the HIA tribunal being overseen by Sir Anthony Hart is the best forum for examining the allegations.

Mr Hoy, 54, took legal action in a bid to force a full independent inquiry with the power to compel witnesses and the security services to hand over documents.

In a sworn affidavit for his challenge he maintained that a lot more than the three convicted men were involved in the abuse and knew about it.

"I believe that many of these people had power, and included MLAs, MPs and paramilitaries," he said.

"It makes me mad that they all could get away with it so easily. These people are hiding and protecting other people. I want to know who was involved and what they did."

The abuse victim added: "I find the whole thing frightening, and at times am frightened that people in authority will want my mouth shut, and want it all brushed under the carpet like it had been years ago."

His barrister argued that new evidence of the extent of state collusion must be examined by the wider Westminster inquiry.

However, Mr Justice Treacy held that if the HIA probe uncovers state agents were complicit in the abuse that may trigger a more focused and intensive inquiry.

The judge also pointed to the co-operation pledged by the UK Government to Sir Anthony's examination.

"The HIA Inquiry has made plain that if there is any attempt to frustrate its work it will not hesitate to say so," he said.

"It will then endeavour to obtain whatever powers it considers necessary to resolve the matter, and if those powers cannot be obtained it will make clear that it cannot complete its work satisfactorily into whatever home is affected by that problem."

He stressed its intention to collate and make publicly available as much information as possible about what occurred at Kincora.

Dismissing the legal challenge, Mr Justice Treacy added: "When it does so the authorities, including the court, will be in the best position to determine whether the UK Government bears any further obligation that needs to be met in some form."

Mr Nesbitt said he has been left "very disappointed" for the Kincora victims.

"They deserve the truth and also to have confidence no stone is being left unturned in the search for that truth," he said.

"I am not attacking Sir Anthony Hart and his Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, but the fact is the UK process has greater powers to compel papers and witnesses, not least MI5, the security and police services of the United Kingdom.

"What is happening here is that the authorities, including the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers MP, are asking the victims of abuse in Kincora to trust them. Do they not realise the hardest thing to ask of a victim of institutional abuse is to ask them to trust the people ultimately responsible for those institutions to act in the victims’ best interests.

"The victims were betrayed decades ago and it is wrong, unfair and hurtful to expect the victims who were abused as young children to rely on trust to get to the truth of the betrayal of trust. The logic of the argument is perverse."

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