Belfast Telegraph

Kincora survivor Richard Kerr brands inquiry 'unfair' and stops giving evidence

By Allan Preston

The Kincora whistleblower and abuse survivor Richard Kerr has said he will no longer give evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, calling the process "grossly unfair".

Richard Kerr was among a number of boys abused in the notorious Kincora children's home in east Belfast after he became a resident in 1974.

The HIA inquiry, led by retired High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart, is investigating long standing claims that a high-ranking paedophile ring preyed on vulnerable boys during the 1970s.

Further claims have been made that UK security services knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it, instead blackmailing the high profile offenders who were said to include politicians, judges, civil servants and police officers.

Mr Kerr - who now lives in Dallas, Texas - was invited to give evidence as a 'Core Participant' but has now accused the inquiry team of having a "double standard" for victims compared to state institutions.

The withdrawal follows a dispute last week over documents released by the HIA on Mr Kerr's case.

His legal team - Belfast firm KRW law - say they were given far less information and preparation time than the state bodies under investigation.

A statement from KRW law released yesterday morning said: "The State bodies/agencies that are Core Participants to the inquiry appear to have been provided with bundles of documents of up to 16,000 pages. In contrast, Mr Kerr was provided with around 740 pages."

The documents released to Mr Kerr include previous police statements, previously publicly available reports and media interview transcripts.

The solicitors added: "It is not clear why the inquiry wish to conceal these documents from Mr Kerr or his legal representatives. In the context of an inquiry that is investigating allegations that the British security forces and security services knew that abuse was and would be perpetrated on the children in Kincora and covered this up, this is inherently unreasonable."

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Kerr said his trust in the HIA had been badly shaken.

"I had the courage to come and give evidence but they've put roadblocks up," he said.

"The most important thing for any victim, especially for me and others in Kincora, is trust. If I can't trust the Inquiry then how am I going to believe them?"

He continued: "You've got to ask what is it that they're hiding? The victims are put at a disadvantage and it's grossly unfair.

"If they want to change their minds and co-operate fully then I will consider (giving evidence) but I want full justice, not half justice."

The HIA had made arrangements to fly Mr Kerr over from the United States to provide a witness statement and give evidence next Monday. They deny treating him unfairly.

A spokeswoman from the HIA said: "It is not correct that the inquiry wishes to conceal documents from Mr Kerr and his legal representatives."

She said the level of state participation into the abuse at Kincora are "matters that are not within Mr Kerr's knowledge" and that he had been given all available documents "based on what he is in a position to speak about".

Next week, the public hearings for the HIA in Banbridge will continue. The inquiry team said that all documents produced to it by various state agencies, including the security services will be made public.

The HIA spokeswoman concluded that: "The inquiry does not intend to engage in public debate with Mr Kerr... save to say that it does not accept its procedures are unfair. These procedures have been repeatedly upheld as fair by the courts, including the United Kingdom Supreme Court."

Belfast Telegraph

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