Trust should not have disclosed abuse claims

A health trust breached a man’s right to privacy by disclosing unproven allegations that he sexually abused his sister, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Horner held it was unfair and unlawful to share information with another parent based on vague and general claims.

He found the Northern Health and Social Care Trust guilty of procedural impropriety in deciding the man, identified only as A, may pose a threat to children.

The man launched judicial review proceedings against the trust challenging its decision to disclose the information to others.

In 2010 his sister, S, told a social worker she was sexually abused by him for nearly 10 years during her childhood. No details of the type of alleged abuse were given and police were not informed.

A year later at a meeting it was decided A was not to have contact with any child without prior approval from social services.

Members of his family were led to believe his guilt was a foregone conclusion, the judge noted.

The decision to retain and reveal the information to parents of children with whom A was in contact breached rights to privacy and family life, the judge held.