Lawyers: Kincora should be in NIO consultation

The consultation paper on the legacy of the Troubles
The consultation paper on the legacy of the Troubles

A notorious Belfast boy’s home should form part of official efforts to address the legacy of the past, lawyers said.

KRW Law argued that Kincora should be addressed as part of the NIO’s consultation on dealing with the past, which closes next month.

The firm represents Richard Kerr, who alleges he was abused by “very powerful people” with links to Kincora and does not accept the conclusions of the four-year Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry.

The inquiry dismissed long-standing claims that senior politicians, civil servants and businessmen were complicit in a paedophile ring that operated at the home in the 1970s and for which three staff members were jailed.

A statement from KRW said: “In addition to the proposed legal proceedings, KRW will argue that the Kincora scandal must be considered as part of the legacy of the conflict and we have made representations to the Lord Chief Justice and OPONI (Police Ombudsman) to that effect and will make the same point in its submissions to the NIO consultation on the legacy of the conflict.”

The inquiry report rejected allegations that the UK security services knew what was going on and, instead of intervening, used the information to blackmail the establishment figures involved.

Publishing the HIA findings in January, inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart said of Kincora: “It was not a homosexual brothel, nor was it used by any of the security agencies as a honey pot to entrap, blackmail or otherwise exploit homosexuals.”

The retired judge added: “It is now time to finally lay these unfounded myths to rest.”

Mr Kerr, who claims he was abused inside Kincora and at other locations in Belfast and London, was due to give evidence to the inquiry but withdrew his co-operation at a late stage after claiming key state documents related to the home were not disclosed to his legal team.

A statement from his lawyers said: “On his behalf, KRW is considering issuing legal proceedings by way of a judicial review of the failings of the OFMDFM, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and the PSNI to investigate Kincora in a manner consistent with human rights standards, which Sir Anthony Hart stated would not be applied to The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) which reported its conclusions and recommendations in 2017.”

This point was argued before the Court of Appeal at the start of the HIA Inquiry.

The law firm added: “It is a point that will now be subject to challenge again in light of the flaws and failings of the HIA Inquiry.”