Abuse inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart dies

Sir Anthony Hart: Historical abuse inquiry chairman dies Sir Anthony Hart, the retired judge who chaired the biggest child abuse inquiry ever held in the UK, has died  The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) was set up in May 2012 by Northern Ireland’s first and deputy first ministers  It aimed to establish if there were “systemic failings by institutions or the state in their duties towards those children in their care”  It studied allegations of abuse in 22 institutions between 1922 to 1995. These were facilities run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the children’s charity, Barnardo’s  The largest number of complaints related to four Catholic-run homes. There was also sexual abuse carried out by priests and lay people  The inquiry concluded in 2017 that there had been widespread abuse and mistreatment in some Northern Ireland children’s homes between 1922 and 1995  Prior to chairing the inquiry, Sir Anthony served as a High Court judge following a number of years as a barrister  At the conclusion of the inquiry, he recommended compensation, a memorial and a public apology to abuse survivors  He said a tax-free lump sum payment should be made to all survivors, including in homes and institutions that were not covered by the inquiry  He added that 12 people who had given evidence had since died and it was only “just and humane” that their spouses or children should receive a payment of 75% of the total lump sum  The payments will range from £7,500 to £100,000. But the compensation scheme has not yet been implemented in the absence of a devolved administration at Stormont  Sir Anthony also recommended that a commissioner for survivors of institutional abuse be appointed  Last week, Brendan McAllister was appointed as that commissioner. He said his priority was seeing legislation passed at Westminster to help victims and survivors  Sir Anthony was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1969 and to the Bar of England and Wales in 1975  He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1983 and a County Court judge in 1985.  He was Recorder of Londonderry from 1985-90, and of Belfast from 1997-2005, and was the first person to be appointed as Presiding Judge of the County Courts in Northern Ireland in 2002  In January 2005 he was promoted to be a High Court judge, and until his retirement in January 2012 he was responsible to the Lord Chief Justice for the pre-trial case management of all the crown court trials conducted by High Court judges  He presided over many criminal trials.

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