Abuse inquiry funding judgment reserved
Judgment was reserved on Tuesday in an historical abuse inquiry chairman’s bid to overturn a ruling that he unfairly denied legal representation to an alleged victim.
Sir Anthony Hart is appealing a High Court verdict that a bar had effectively been erected against the woman who claims she was molested by a “very high-profile figure”.
Senior judges hearing the challenge have been told alleged victims are now increasingly refusing to sign witness statements unless they secure legal funding.
The woman at the centre of the case is due to give evidence at the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) hearings in Banbridge, Co Down which are investigating child abuse in Northern Ireland residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.
The woman claims she suffered years of physical, sexual and mental abuse while in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth.
She also separately alleges that an unidentified high-profile figure targeted her outside of the home.
Michael Stitt QC, for the woman, stressed on Tuesday how his client faces the prospect of coming face-to-face with the alleged perpetrator without any legal help.
He rejected the suggestion that it was premature for her to be given access to lawyers and contended that the allegations were more serious than many others being examined.