Northern Ireland news

Abuse survivor loses legal battle over scope of Kincora inquiry

Kincora abuse survivor Gary Hoy has lost a legal challenge against the scope of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
Staff Reporter

AN abuse survivor has lost his legal battle over the scope of an inquiry into a paedophile ring at a notorious Belfast care home.

The Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that the examination into claims of state collusion in the Kincora scandal should remain within the current remit of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) sitting in Banbridge.

Lawyers for Gary Hoy (54), a former resident at the home, argued that the investigation being chaired by Sir Anthony Hart lacks the power to properly scrutinise allegations that child abuse at the home throughout the 1970s was covered up to protect an intelligence-gathering operation.

But senior judges dismissed his bid to compel the Secretary of State to order a human rights-compliant probe.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held that the HIA is entitled to proceed with its scrutiny of systemic failings.

However, he stressed that any truth in claims that boys at Kincora were abused and prostituted for interests of national security must be exposed.

Sir Declan said: "As a society we must not repeat the errors of the institutions and should remember our obligations to the children.

"If the suggestion is not true the rumour and suspicion surrounding this should be allayed."

As the verdict was delivered on Friday Mr Hoy shouted out from the public gallery before walking out of court.

"If your grandchildren were in Kincora would you not want justice?" he asked.

His legal team had contended that the present arrangements cannot compel the security services to hand over documents or testify.

Instead, they sought a declaration that Mr Hoy is entitled to an inquiry that meets his entitlements to freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is alleged that the security service shielded and blackmailed child sex abusers involved in abuse at Kincora.

Calls for full scrutiny of the suspected systemic molestation and prostitution of vulnerable youngsters has grown ever since three senior staff were jailed in 1981 for abusing boys in their care.

It has long been suspected that well-known figures within the British establishment, including high-ranking civil servants and senior military officers, were involved.

Last month the High Court dismissed Mr Hoy's initial legal challenge after finding it was premature.

But with Sir Anthony's tribunal set to begin examining Kincora next week, an urgent appeal against the verdict was launched.

Counsel for the HIA responded by insisting it has been given unrestricted access to information and documents from government departments and agencies.

MI5 and MI6 have also agreed to be central participants at the inquiry, he disclosed.

Judges were also told that Sir Anthony has vowed to "raise the red card" should he encounter any resistance to examining what went on at Kincora.

In his ruling Sir Declan pointed out that the HIA's work may help to satisfy any Article 3 obligations in the case.

If any further investigative steps are required the responsibility lies with the state rather than the inquiry, he added.

Dismissing the appeal, the Lord Chief Justice continued: "This society has been rocked to its core by the shocking disclosure of the abuse of children in this community over many years.

"Just as shocking has been the manner in which the institutions to which some of the abusers belonged sought to protect the institutions rather than the children."

Confirming the HIA is entitled to continue with its planned investigation, he said: "That dos not in any way detract from the need to ensure that our obligation to these children are satisfied."

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