A former resident at a notorious Belfast boys' home has received a major boost in his High Court action over claims he was trafficked for sexual abuse on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Richard Kerr alleges a paedophile ring subjected him to years of rape and molestation in a campaign covered up by the British state.
The 58-year-old, who spent more than two years at the Kincora home in the east of the city, is seeking damages against the Department of Health, the Northern Ireland Office, the PSNI and the Home Office.
In court on Friday it was confirmed that defences in the case will be served in the next four weeks.
A solicitor representing Mr Kerr was buoyed by the development in attempts to reach trial as soon as possible.
Kevin Winters said: "This is good news for my client, it's a welcome development coming just before Christmas.
"It means there's a real prospect of the case coming to trial much sooner than was originally anticipated."
The lawsuit involves claims for assault and battery, misfeasance in public office, breach of statutory duty and negligence.
Mr Kerr, who now lives in Dallas, Texas, has detailed a litany of alleged abuse during his time spent at institutions in the 1960s and 1970s.
His action is being supported by former British Army intelligence officer Colin Wallace.
As well as the plaintiff's time at Kincora, the case involves claims about his earlier treatment in care at Williamson House in north Belfast, and a later period at Millisle Borstal in Co Down.
He repeatedly alleges that he was plied with alcohol and sexually assaulted by a number of men.
Court papers set out claims of being taken to hotels in Belfast, Portrush and Bangor to be abused.
According to his case he was also attacked while working at horse stables near Larne.
Another alleged incident involved being molested by a former soldier after being sent to his home in west Belfast.
Mr Kerr further claims he was put on ferries to England, where he was picked up by men and taken to locations in Manchester and London.
He maintains that all investigations and inquiries to date have failed to expose the full abuse at Kincora, along with the alleged knowledge and role of British state agents.
His lawyers claim failures by the Royal Ulster Constabulary to investigate events at the home.
Based on his allegations, he has not accepted conclusions reached by the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry.
It dismissed suspicions that senior politicians, civil servants and businessmen were complicit in a paedophile ring at Kincora which led to three staff members being jailed.