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Kincora child abuse: Ex-Army intelligence officer Colin Wallace has nothing to fear from giving evidence, court told

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Waiver: Colin Wallace

Waiver: Colin Wallace

Waiver: Colin Wallace

A former Army intelligence officer who claims attempts to expose a paedophile ring at a notorious Belfast care home were blocked, has nothing to fear from testifying at an inquiry, the High Court has heard.

Colin Wallace was assured he will not be held in breach of the Official Secrets Act if he gives evidence about what went on at Kincora, a judge was told.

Counsel for the Secretary of State also disputed claims that Wallace could not be compelled, if necessary, to appear before the ongoing Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

One former resident at Kincora is taking legal action in a bid to have the scandal examined by a wider Westminster inquiry.

Senior politicians, businessmen and high-level British state agents are alleged to have connived in the molestation and prostitution of vulnerable boys at the east Belfast home throughout the 1970s.

Calls for full scrutiny have grown ever since three senior staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing children in their care.

Lawyers representing Gary Hoy, one of the victims, claim MI5 shielded and blackmailed perpetrators as part of a cover-up.

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.

She believes the HIA tribunal being overseen by Sir Anthony Hart is the best forum for examining the allegations. Mr Hoy's legal team claims it lacks the power to compel evidence or witnesses from government agencies.

Central to the case are allegations by Mr Wallace, a former military intelligence officer who says he had information in 1973 that boys were being abused at Kincora.

In media interviews he claimed some of his superiors refused to pass on the details. He contended that he was prevented from giving evidence to previous inquiries because of the Official Secrets Act.

Tony McGleenan QC for the Secretary of State, argued that a waiver was given so that Mr Wallace and others are free to give their accounts.

"The impediment was removed, Mr Wallace can give his evidence to the Hart Inquiry without fear of breach of the Official Secrets Act," Mr McGleenan said.

Further reading

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Belfast Telegraph