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Abused must get justice

Sunday Mail 18/09/2005

JACK McCONNELL gave victims of historical abuse in children's homes hope that they were in line for justice.

The First Minister said sorry for "deplorable, unacceptable and inexcusable" physical, emotional and sexual abuse that occurred over the years.

Fine words last December suggested action against institutional abusers would follow. But Executive lawyers are trying to get hundreds of abuse cases thrown out of court on a time bar technicality.

Today, the victims are still suffering the effects of brutal beatings as far back as 40 years ago by De La Salle monks who were supposed to be protecting them.

Renewed hope of justice emerged last week when High Court judge Lady Paton ruled there was sufficient evidence to take the Executive to court over their part in the scandal.

Our devolved government must take responsibility for the inspectors accused of ignoring the horrors inflicted by the monks and teachers at the De La Salle List D schools.

That negligence could cost the Executive £10million in compensation.

But these cases are not about cash. The De La Salle victims would gladly trade cash awards to see justice.

Jack McConnell must instruct his Lord Advocate to stop trying to deny these lost children the justice they crave.

He must show the world that Scotland is a forward-thinking nation.

And remember his words: "Those children, adults today, deserve full recognition by us of what happened to them. They were badly wronged."

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