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Former Quarriers residents can sue

Alan MacDermid, the Glasgow Herald, 14/10/2006

Four former residents of a childrens home who claim they were abused by staff are to get their day in court, a judge ruled yesterday.

They have been given leave to sue Quarriers Homes in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, even though they raised their action outside the statutory period of limitations.

However, three others have had their cases dismissed in the Court of Sessions because they had been time-barred.

The decisions were handed down yesterday in a series of judgements by Lady Smith, who had been asked to consider whether to apply discretion under the act which requires claimants to raise an action within three years of turning 18.

She allowed four of the actions, by two brothers and a brother and sister, to go ahead even though they were time-barred, on the grounds that the pursuers claimed not to have known that legal action was open to them. The plea for discretion by the other three was on the grounds that they had been deterred by shame, fear or confusion, or that they had put the abuse to the back of their minds because of the trauma it caused them.

Cameron Fyfe, the solicitor for all seven said: "In four of the cases, we were granted a hearing on the question of time-bar, a preliminary proof.

"What the judge has allowed is a hearing in Court so that the client can stand in the witness box and explain why they did not make a claim within the time required.

"That is a welcome victory for them, but the result is obviously a disappointment for the other two men and one woman"

Mr Fyfe is representing about 25 former Quarriers children who have alleged physical, and in some cases sexual, abuse at the hands of staff at the homes.

A number of former staff have been convicted.

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