Belfast Telegraph

Victims of abuse are 'unfairly' represented

By Alan Erwin

Child abuse victims have been unfairly denied legal representation at a major inquiry into alleged historical offences at care homes, the High Court has heard.

A judge was also told they should be provided with a team of barristers and solicitors to ensure equality with those accused of inflicting sexual and physical assaults.

Judicial review proceedings have been brought by a woman who claims she was abused by a "high-profile public figure".

She is challenging a decision by Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) chairman Sir Anthony Hart to refuse her application for funding for legal representation at public expense.

Lawyers acting for the woman in the High Court challenge want his decision quashed, claiming it is unlawful and will give an unfair advantage to alleged perpetrators.

Should she win the case it could mean funding has to be provided for legal teams to represent hundreds of victims.

The HIA inquiry was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential institutions here over a 73-year period, up to 1995.

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