WILLIAMSON HOUSE & THE SEXUAL ABUSE SCANDAL: RICHARD KERR SEEKS TRIAL DATE IN CIVIL ACTION FOLLOWING CSO DELAY TACTICS
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) is instructed by Richard Kerr who was sexually abused for over ten years between the ages of 8 – 18 whilst in the ‘care’ of Williamson House, the Kincora Boys’ Hostel and similar institutions in Belfast. He was taken from his family by the State at the age of five and placed in Williamson House.
Within two years Richard Kerr was serially raped and endured physical and sexual abuse at Williamson House. Before he was transferred to the Kincora Boys’ Hostel aged 14, he had been sex trafficked from Williamson House. He was controlled by key House Managers at Williamson House. The bulk of his sexual abuse happened outside the institutional homes, arranged by key House Managers.
Richard Kerr is determined to ensure that the truth of his experiences are exposed in court. He and his best friend Steven Waring swore to protect each other through the ordeal of their sexual abuse as young teenagers. Richard was 16 when Steven Waring drowned while being forced back to Belfast from Liverpool in November 1977.
Steven Waring had managed to run away and escape. He was sent back by the police. His 1977 drowning prompted the investigation that has become known as the Kincora Scandal. However, Richard Kerr was abused whilst a resident at Williamson House aged 8 – 14, before he was transferred to continuing physical and sexual abuse at Kincora aged 14 – 18.
Richard Kerr maintains that all investigations and inquiries to date have failed to expose the full extent of the abuse starting at Williamson House, Kincora and elsewhere. He was sent outside the institutions by the House Managers to have sex with outside parties. It is alleged that state agents and their agencies had direct knowledge of these events. They exploited this knowledge of Richard Kerr’s sexual abuse, specifically to enhance intelligence for the British security forces. They forced the perpetrators – the abusers – to provide intelligence to the security forces in exchange for silence.
The High Court civil case being taken in Belfast by Richard Kerr focuses on failures by the RUC to investigate the allegations of abuse at Williamson House and the Kincora Boys’ Home and the protection of key paedophile figures including Joe Maines, Eric Witchell and William McGrath.
In addition, Richard Kerr maintains that no investigation has been conducted which complies with human rights standards.
Richard Kerr maintains that the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) conducted by Sir Anthony Hart was flawed and has not provided truth, justice and accountability to the Kincora victims including himself. As a core witness he was denied access to critical files held by the State. As a result, KRW advised him not to participate in the HIA. Earlier investigations lead by Sir George Terry and Judge Hughes were also flawed.
Therefore, a Writ was issued on his behalf on 3 March 2016 and now this is being supported by a Statement of Claim commencing a civil action against the Department of Health, the Northern Ireland Office, the Home Office and the PSNI.
The Statement of Claim includes a range of tortious actions including assault, battery and trespass to the person, misfeasance in public office, breach of statutory duty and negligence.
Richard Kerr seeks damages for personal injury and, more importantly, discovery of material relating to his abuse held by the institutions he is suing.
Richard Kerr is supported in his application by Colin Wallace, who was a Psychological Operations officer at Army Headquarters in Lisburn during the 1970s. Mr Wallace has his own civil action pending against the MOD for his unlawful dismissal. Mr Wallace has fearlessly fought to expose the abuse at Kincora and elsewhere. Other witnesses with direct knowledge will be called.
To date the Crown Solicitors Office (CSO), the British government legal department in Northern Ireland, have contested this civil action at every turn of proceedings. A threatened strike out application did not materialise over the past 18 months. The CSO are reliant upon delay in bringing this case to trial much to the anger of Richard Kerr. “This has only made me more determined to go to court. Steven Waring will not rest in peace until the truth is out.”
What happened to Richard Kerr and his family is at the apex what can be described as the low point in Britain’s Dirty War in the North of Ireland. As systemic institutional sexual abuse (residential and non-residential) is being exposed across the Island of Ireland, so also is systemic collusion between British Security Forces and paramilitary groups. Richard Kerr’s testimony of being abused by senior Loyalists and others with links to paramilitarism, abuse which was either ignored or known about and exploited by the British Security Forces.
On Friday 25 February in the High Court in Belfast, Richard Kerr will argue that his case must be set down for trial without further delay.
KRW expect the CSO to contest this. Should the CSO attempt to argue that this case is part of the Conflict-related Legacy civil litigation which the NIO have proposed should end by way of legislation, KRW, on behalf of Richard Kerr, will robustly counter as no legislation has yet been published. The CSO cannot take a stance of ‘wait and see’ on laws which have yet to be created in the hope that the claims made by Richard Kerr will either go away or be locked away.