By Rebecca Black, PA
Legal proceedings have been launched against a number of institutions in Northern Ireland claiming Lord Mountbatten abused a boy at a notorious Belfast children’s home in the 1970s.
Arthur Smyth, a former resident of the Kincora home, has waived his anonymity to make the allegations against the earl, a great uncle of Britain's King Charles.
Lord Mountbatten was killed along with three others when the IRA detonated a bomb on his boat in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, in 1979.
Three weeks ago, on behalf of Mr Smyth, formal letters of claim were served on a number of agencies, making serious allegations of historic abuse, solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said.
He said the claim for damages arises from Mr Smyth’s time spent as a child in Kincora Children’s Home, North Road Children’s Unit and Rosebank Home in Belfast during the late 1970s.
Mr Winters said no response have been received from any of the defendants and, in the continued absence of engagement, there is no alternative but to issue legal proceedings.
On Wednesday, a High Court writ of summons was issued against Northern Ireland’s Department of Health, the Secretary of State, the PSNI, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Business Services Organisation.
The claim is for trespass to the person (assault and battery), negligence, misfeasance in public office and breach of statutory duty under section 113 of the Children and Young Person Act (NI) (1968).
Mr Winters said: “Threatening to take a case and actually going ahead and doing it are two entirely different things.
“In issuing this action today, Arthur Smyth has now put down a marker and taken the next important step in his battle to get justice over the horrific abuse suffered by him when he was a child.
“In doing this, he wants to expose what until now have been suspicions and rumours about one of his abusers, the late Lord Louis Mountbatten.
“He wants the facts finally to emerge about his abuse generally and specific allegations about two separate incidents implicating the now deceased royal.
“There is no better forum to expose injustice than the courts – and particularly a Belfast court.
“Over the recent past number of years, this jurisdiction has proven to be highly effective and intrusive in protecting the rights of the abused and disenfranchised.
“Against that background, I have no hesitation in launching this case today. I have every confidence the justice system will serve to reflect Arthur’s bravery in taking this case.”
The Kincora home opened in Belfast’s Upper Newtownards Road, close to Stormont’s Parliament Buildings, in May 1958. It closed in October 1980 after a sex abuse scandal.
The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry found that 39 boys were abused at Kincora. In 1981, three men were jailed for abusing 11 boys.
However, it found no evidence that security agencies were complicit in the abuse.
A recent report by Marie Anderson, the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (Poni), said complaints from some former residents about the failure of police to investigate allegations of sexual abuse at Kincora were “legitimate and justified”.