Challenge over Kincora inquiry decision

Challenge over Kincora inquiry decision

The case is going to court on Friday, after Theresa Villiers ruled what was one of Northern Ireland’s biggest sex scandals out of the government investigation.

It had been hoped the inquiry would look into what happened inside the former boys’ home and into claims of a cover-up at the highest levels within the security services and government.

But instead the Secretary of State said that Kincora would be investigated by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland.

Ms Villiers insisted there would be full co-operation and full disclosure from government, the Ministry of Defence and MI5.

Victims and senior politicians do not believe that is the best way to get the truth.

Legal action was threatened and now the case is set to go to court, with papers due to be lodged on Friday on behalf of Gary Hoy.

He was aged just eight when he was sent to the east Belfast home, where he was systematically abused.

In 1981, three senior Kincora care workers, William McGrath, Joseph Mains and Raymond Semple, were jailed for abusing children in their care – Gary Hoy being one of the victims.

But many believe the abuse scandal goes much higher up and claim that the authorities knew about the crimes, but did nothing to stop them.

Campaigners are hoping that a judge will reverse the Secretary of State’s decision and recommend that Kincora is included in the Westminster abuse inquiry.

UTV has obtained the court papers applying for a judicial review.

In them are claims that the allegations regarding Kincora are “of such significance as they engage potential direct state involvement in colluding, covering up and systematic illegal practices of sexual abuse in order to obtain information, intelligence and influence through the manipulation of innocent third parties that it takes this issue beyond the original remit of the HIA”.

The chair of that inquiry, Judge Anthony Hart, has already expressed reservation about the ability to investigate those issues relating to the Army or MI5.

However, he did add that he felt reassured after the pledge of full disclosure from the Secretary of State and said he would request more powers if he felt they were needed.

He has already sought access to all files relating to the home from agencies and Government.

On Wednesday it was confirmed that intelligence officers would be able to testify at the HIA inquiry without fear of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.

However, some people still feel the Westminster inquiry, which is yet to get off the ground, is the only way forward.

Solicitor for some of the victims, Kevin Winters said: “The Westminster inquiry will deal with a raft of alleged scandals, which allegedly connect senior political and security figures over many, many decades in England and Wales.

“Given the serious allegations about Kincora, which have persisted for many years now, and touch upon issues of national security, we say that Kincora is a natural fit for the Westminster inquiry and ought to be included sooner rather than later.

“It’s vitally important to get to the truth of Kincora, we’ve seen many different attempts to do that in the past, including two failed inquiries in the 1980s.”

He added: “This may well in fact be the last chance for this applicant and many other victims like him in Kincora to have some degree of closure.”

The case could be heard within weeks.


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