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Man who claims he was abused at Kircubbin children's home wins right to view documents


Rubane House, Kircubbin

Rubane House, Kircubbin

Rubane House, Kircubbin

A man who claims he was sexually abused at a children's home run by a religious order is to gain access to documents in cases involving the same alleged perpetrators, the High Court in Belfast ordered today.

Legal papers, non-confidential settlements, records of police complaints and personnel files are to be handed over to lawyers representing Kevin McGuckin for his civil action against De La Salle Provincialate.

Discovery was granted ahead of next month's trial into 64-year-old Mr McGuckin's claims that Christian Brothers molested him at Rubane House in Kircubbin, Co Down.

He is suing for alleged physical, sexual and emotional abuse he suffered after moving into the facilities at the age of 11 in the late 1960s.

Rubane House was among the homes examined by the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry chaired by the late Sir Anthony Hart.

An estimated 200 of its 1,050 former residents have made allegations of serious sexual or physical abuse.

In court today Mr McGuckin's legal team sought discovery of pleadings and settlements reached in all other cases linked to the same alleged perpetrators.

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The application extended to any complaints made to religious order about those Brothers, referrals made to the RUC or PSNI, and all policies about supervising, monitoring and disciplining staff.

Counsel for the defendant agreed to most of the material being sought "in an attempt to be as forthcoming as possible".

But no consent was given to revealing information on any confidential settlements in other cases.

Master Bell, who heard the application, questioned if that type of disclosure had been made before.

He told Mr McGuckin's legal representatives: "I do have a concern that if I give you what you want in this case I simply blow open the gates and it has an unfortunate and unintended consequence in other litigation, and makes it less capable of being settled."

Following submissions he agreed to order discovery of all documents sought, except for those where settlements remain confidential.

Further arguments on that category were listed for early next month.

Outside court Mr McGuckin's sister claimed campaigners were having to "fight all the way" to gain access to the papers.

Margaret McGuckin, who runs the lobby group Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA), insisted: "They are not releasing all the documents they should do."

Her brother's solicitor, Claire McKeegan, added: "We are pleased with the outcome, and that we are to get this schedule of material in advance of the trial." ends

Belfast Telegraph

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