Kincora witness withdraws from abuse inquiry over disclosure concerns

A key witness who was abused at the former Kincora Boys' home in east Belfast has dramatically withdrawn from the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry in Banbridge.

For decades it has been alleged that a high ranking paedophile ring preyed on vulnerable children at the home and M15 has been accused of a cover up to protect an intelligence gathering operation.

Richard Kerr, who has waived his right to anonymity, was the only victim to be invited to be a core participant at the HIA inquiry which is examining all these claims.

He was due to give evidence next Monday but has dramatically withdrawn his co-operation from the Inquiry in Banbridge.

Richard Kerr's legal team says it has not been provided with the same amount of documents as the secret service and the security forces.

His team has received just over 750 pages of documents, while other core participants such as the security services have been given access to files containing over 16,000 pages. Without obtaining the rest of these files, his legal representative says she cannot represent Mr Kerr properly.

Claire McKeegan told UTV: “In relation to representing Richard, they are crucial, they are documents from the security force agencies, the intelligence services and the MoD.

“Without those documents, when one of those service members attends to give evidence at the inquiry, we will be unable to prepare questions on behalf of Richard to challenge the evidence.”

Speaking from the US, Richard Kerr says he was prepared to give evidence to the inquiry, until the issue of disclosure emerged.

“They want to know what happened at Kincora, I know what happened at Kincora and outside of Kincora. I lived it, I was there, but I have to have trust in this inquiry.

In a detailed statement the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry says it doesn't accept its procedures are unfair "it is not correct to say the Inquiry wishes to conceal documents from Mr Kerr".

"He has been provided with all the documents presently available to the Inquiry which it considers directly bear upon him."

The public hearings will resume again in Banbridge next week.