Goddard was right to resign. The child sex inquiry now needs a complete reboot.

Justice Lowell Goddard’s resignation as the Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has taken us by surprise, but it should not have done. Over 2 years have now passed since Theresa May announced the inquiry, and so far it has achieved almost nothing tangible at all, except to lurch from crisis to crisis: it has now lost with 3 chairs, various “panel members”, and an unquantifiable tranche of written evidence submitted between 14th September and 2nd October last year which was “instantly and permanently deleted” due to a computer malfunction.

In due course it may become clear whether the new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, pushed her, or whether Goddard simply decided enough was enough: the news yesterday that she had spent 70 days of the last year out of the country, suggests that she had little appetite for the job and my hunch is that she simply decided to walk away.

The theory that she may have been elbowed out rests partly on the fact that in her remarkably curt resignation letter she signed herself off as “Hon. Dame Lowell Goddard QC”.Goddard letter 040816

Joshua Rozenberg has pointed out that High Court Judges in England drop the letters “QC” on appointment, and he assumes (correctly) that New Zealand judges do the same. Since Goddard would know how she should be addressed, Rozenberg’s theory is that the letter was drafted for her by some Home Office official not au fait with the niceties, who then handed her the letter and left her in a metaphorical library with a bottle of brandy, a pen and the expectation that she would do the decent thing.

But I don’t think he is right. Dame Lowell is no longer listed as a serving Judge on the official website of the New Zealand judiciary, so it may be that the tricky etiquette of how to address a former New Zealand Judge seconded into another jurisdiction to do the job of an inquiry chair is still a chapter waiting to be written in Debretts Modern Manners. If one must read things into the wording of her letter (and I would prefer not to), it seems more striking to me that it is addressed simply to:

The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP

Home Secretary

2 Marsham Street

If someone in the Home Office had drafted the letter then it is a bit odd that they would have omitted the post-code, the inclusion of which would be second nature to a Home Office civil servant, though perhaps not to Goddard herself.

But whoever drafted the letter, the fact is that she was right to resign.

Bluntly, and even before any evidence had been heard, it was becoming apparent that she simply wasn’t up to the job. Until now her most celebrated case was Howse v. R [2005] UKPC, a thoroughly nasty child murder trial. Unfortunately she made a horlicks of it by admitting a shed-load of inadmissible evidence, before delivering a summing-up in which, to quote the restrained words of Lord Carswell:

“… she spent very much longer than was desirable … with a description of the killings in terms which were unduly emotive and capable of fuelling prejudice.”

The result was that, in the words of Lord Rodger and Sir Andrew Leggatt:

It is impossible to imagine a clearer example of a trial that has gone off the rails ….”

If you substitute the word “inquiry” for “trial” their words seem equally apt today. How it was ever thought that a judge who made such a mess of a murder trial was a suitable candidate for this behemoth of an inquiry is difficult to understand.

Trying a murder trial is a difficult enough task to be sure, but holding the ring between prosecution and defence, applying the law and summing up the facts to a jury is simplicity itself compared to chairing a public inquiry in which large numbers of participants are constantly jostling for attention and demanding decisions. An inquiry chair is constantly required to make decisions about the procedure and strategic direction of the inquiry, while at the same time evaluating and concentrating intently on the evidence in order to write a worthwhile report at the end of it all. It is gruelling and exhausting work when the subject matter is the route for a new motorway. When it concerns terrible and emotive accounts of child abuse it requires a very special person to handle it successfully.

And in the last few days – even before she had heard a word of evidence – Goddard’s incompetence had become embarrassingly obvious, not just to lawyers involved in the inquiry, but to journalists watching from the sidelines. The Times’ Sean O’Neill wrote a story last week about the Judge’s apparent inability to understand the law which allowed her to impose reporting restrictions:

The incident compounds fears in legal circles that Justice Goddard is insufficiently familiar with British law and institutions to lead an inquiry of this scale and complexity.

Under her leadership IICSA’s progress has been slow and expensive. More than a year after her opening statement it has taken no evidence and will not do so until next year. However, it has hired 155 staff and opened offices in London, Liverpool, Darlington and Cardiff.”

Joshua Rozenberg, who also watched Goddard’s performance, thought that O’Neill’s assessment was “if anything too generous to her.”

The fundamental problem is that the terms of reference of the inquiry, established by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, are stunningly wide:

To consider the extent to which State and non-State institutions have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation; to consider the extent to which those failings have since been addressed; to identify further action needed to address any failings identified; to consider the steps which it is necessary for State and non-State institutions to take in order to protect children from such abuse in future; and to publish a report with recommendations.”

For practical purposes there are no limits. There is no cut off point at, say, ten, twenty or forty years. There is no limit to the numbers of institutions that have to be investigated, there are a number of organisations that the inquiry has indicated are “for example” within its scope:

  • Government departments, the Cabinet Office, Parliament and Ministers;
  • Police, prosecuting authorities, schools including private and state-funded boarding and day schools, specialist education (such as music tuition), Local Authorities (including care homes and children’s services), health services, and prisons/secure estates;
  • Churches and other religious denominations and organisations;
  • Political Parties; and
  • The Armed Services.

Even this is not an exclusive list. Any proper inquiry into just one of these organisations is capable of lasting years, yet the IICSA is supposed to investigate all of them, and others too. Quite simply, it cannot be done, at least not by the inquiry in its current form and I suspect that Justice Goddard has resigned because she has belatedly realised as much.

She was the third chair of the inquiry. The first, Lady Justice Butler Sloss, was a highly regarded judge: she resigned after it was suggested – on the flimsiest of evidence – that her brother had protected political paedophiles. The second, the City solicitor Fiona Woolf, was an astonishing appointment, not least because she had no judicial experience beyond sitting as a part-time magistrate: she too resigned after it was suggested that she was too close to Leon Brittan (who was at the time under formal investigation for sexual offences by the Metropolitan Police).

The new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd has a dilemma. Does she scrap the existing inquiry – 155 staff and all – and start again, or does she try to continue?

She has said that it will continue, but to do that she will need to find another Chair. Of course it may be that she has planned Goddard’s resignation, and if so she presumably has someone waiting in the wings. Rozenberg suggests that the current counsel to the inquiry, Ben Emmerson QC could step up to the bench and chair it. “He’s a fearless lawyer and knows much more about the inquiry than anyone else. Goddard included.” That is true but I doubt that Emmerson – one of the country’s leading human rights lawyers – would want the job. After two years of thankless effort it would not be altogether surprising if he too was looking for a way out. And even if he did accept it, she would then need to find another counsel to the inquiry, which would pose a whole new set of problems.

If she doesn’t have a substitute already jogging up and down the touchline it is very hard to see where she will find one now. I suspect that practically all English High Court judges – including the likeable and immensely capable Lady Justice Hallett, Rozenberg’s other recommendation – were considered before Goddard’s appointment, and all of them were either ruled out on the basis that they were too close to people who might be inquired into, or simply “too close to the establishment” (all judges are, by definition, pillars of “the establishment”), or they declined the invitation. Very few judges or high-flying QCs would now want to be associated with – to change the sporting analogy – this rain-affected-timeless-test of an inquiry which has already made Chilcot look like a 20:20 thrash under the floodlights. Perhaps somewhere in the English speaking world there are judges who would be persuadable; a £500,000 p.a. package will sugar the bitterest of pills. At a pinch she probably even has the power to appoint an unwilling English judge. But it’s no good choosing yet another Judge who is either unable or unwilling to see it through.

Any new Chair she does find will not want to be bound by decisions made by Goddard. He or she will need to make changes, for example, to the procedure that the inquiry adopts when dealing with disputed claims of sexual abuse, such as those involving Lord Janner. At the moment the investigation into Lord Janner is anomalous: the other 13 “investigations” are into institutions: Nottinghamshire Council, Lambeth Council, The Anglican Church and so on. The inquiry website says that:

The investigations will give a voice to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, enable the Inquiry to understand how institutions have failed to protect children from sexual abuse and make practical recommendations to ensure better institutional protection for children in the future.”

That is all very well so far as “institutions” are concerned. Nobody can seriously doubt that child abuse took place within the Church, or within homes operated by councils. But Lord Janner is not an institution he is, or was, an individual. His guilt or otherwise is very hotly contested, yet the fact that he is being included in a project designed to “give a voice to victims and survivors” seems to presuppose that his accusers are victims. This is a recipe for muddle and unfairness.

It is worth remembering how the inquiry came about in the first place. It was announced the day after Leon Brittan was interviewed by the police on suspicion of rape (the fact of the police interview was publicised). That allegation went nowhere, although the police decided not to tell Lord Brittan that before he died. Allegations were also swirling around about other MPs, some of which may have been true but many of which have since been shown to be false or at least highly dubious. Even Tom Watson, one of Brittan’s main tormentors, has apologised to his widow for describing him, disgracefully, as “as close to evil as any human being could get.” It turned out he wasn’t actually very close to evil at all; and nor for that matter was Harvey Proctor, or Ted Heath or Lord Bramall, although all three have had either their lives or their reputations blighted, whilst their accusers have turned out to be deranged, deluded or deceitful.

Now that the allegations against Brittan, Heath, Proctor and Bramall have been exhaustively investigated and found wanting, an inquiry that was set up largely on the basis that there had been some sort of “VIP paedophile ring” needs at least to acknowledge the possibility that politicians and others in public life are not – as conspiracists were telling us – part of an “elite” protected by a code of omerta, but are in fact just as vulnerable to false accusations as anyone else, and in some ways more so. It would be strange if an inquiry set up partly on the basis of false innuendoes were to continue merrily on its way under a new Chair without any real recognition of the fact that some of those claiming to be the victims of VIP abuse were in fact nothing of the sort.

One way or another this blighted and jinxed inquiry needs a complete reboot. Either Ms Rudd must come up with a new Chair with the authority to radically change its methods and direction, or she must have the courage to turn to her new boss and say “Prime Minister, you set this inquiry up with the best of intentions, but I’m afraid it can’t work; I’m going to tear it up and start it again.”

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Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

46 thoughts on “Goddard was right to resign. The child sex inquiry now needs a complete reboot.”

  1. The point of Janner being included is money. It is a lot easier for the claimants to grab his estate if there is some sort of judicial finding. That’s why there was all that pressure for trying him when he was incapable, and even when he was dead. It never was about “justice”. It never is.

    The whole thing is about money. Take the money away and the claims vanish, well 90% of them do. Stop handing out cheques to people who make things up for money and they’ll stop doing it.

    If we carry on this way, everyone with any money is going to be a target for these things, and there is no defence. If I say (for example) you raped me, I don’t have to say when beyond some vague timings “in the last 10 years”, I don’t have to give any testable detail – lots of gory sexual detail but nothing testable – the Police don’t want to and won’t look (e.g. the Fireman’s table), they are desperate to believe the claimants no matter how ridiculous (anyone suggesting that Proctor and Heath would collaborate on anything other than a duel with pistols doesn’t know anything about either of them).

    There is no evidence, but then that’s not required any more. So you raped me. Give me your money, not only for the actual damage, but I would have become a Doctor or something if you hadn’t, so I want 40 years worth of Doctor’s earnings as well. Plus you’ve got to pay of the dishonest solicitor who knows full well I’ve made it up, but pretends otherwise.

    (Note: obviously you didn’t – it’s just an example. But it really is this bad nowadays. And I do know what I’m talking about. )

    The child abuse pressure groups want a re-run of Waterhouse where they can just make uncontested claims and have them read into “court”, so they can make claims on them.

    Actual child abusers don’t behave in the way they say do – big parties, groups passing people around. It’s too easy to get caught. They are tiny groups, maybe twos and threes, and individuals. Nor do they do stupid things like kill people or cut bits off them.

  2. Thanks for all the citations, Matthew. There’s now another reason to suggest that Goddard’s resignation letter was not drafted by her or her team. As Sean O’Neill points out in The Times — although he doesn’t draw the same inference as I do — her letter gets the name of her own inquiry wrong.

  3. Or it could be that after long talks in Australia, with their Secret Services, she decided that in good conscious, she could no longer carry on this farce. If the UK Secret Services are not willing to have their operatives exposed, then how can she carry on with the rest of her job. The inquiry was set up to look into cover ups of VIPs and MPs involved in abuse, and murder. If that is not fully resolved, the rest of the inquiry into institutional abuse is meaningless.

  4. “Dear Home Secretary,
    I regret to advise that I am offering you my resignation as Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, with immediate effect. I trust you will accept this decision.
    Hon Dame Lowell Goddard QC”

    I’m confident that Dame Lowell Goddard QC took some time to come to her decision that she had nothing more to contribute, in remaining the Chairman of the IICSA. Historic institutional abuse has occurred over many many many years and if we are really honest with ourselves, much condoned by society, locked in a culture of ‘out of site, out of mind’. Especially towards youngsters and the behaviourally challenging. The politics surrounding institutions has always been troubled by cost, staff training, appropriate staff-client interaction, etc, etc,. Let alone concern about what goes on in them and the processes of employment that we have today.

    Maybe she is much more astute and learned than many think. In what will become a ‘no win’ situation on release of any report, especially if it is inconclusive or questions the integrity of the evidence from so called ‘victims’. I believe she might be concerned about her doubts to any report ever coming to a satisfactory conclusion. The politics of which will be mind boggling. May be she has started to realise how shallow some claimants are and all they ever see, as a priority, is this is a route to compensation rather than justice, for something that increasingly looks like their ‘historical abuse’ was an illusion for some and only happened to a small number of the claimants. Many others clambering on the band wagon.

    My concern is that the inquiry has invited contributions from mostly damaged ’40 year olds’ with an axe to grind against society for ‘putting them away’. Often they were lodged in places that were not too homely and failed to give them a fraction of the level of care afforded to their peers living at home. My experience included dealing with many youngsters, despite their being staff protection measures, accusing staff of inappropriate behaviour (including physical violence and touching them inappropriately ). An unfavoured or feeble member of staff could be the target of quite inventive ‘why let the truth get in the way of good story’ individuals, who dammed the consequences of the effect it would have on a professionals career, when it was proved to be a lie. The liar was sound that in the knowledge that the police would no pursue a prosecution, for what can only be described by a layman as ‘perverting the course of justice’. One of my colleagues, after being tarnished with an accusation, found to be absolutely false, left the school and two months later was found dead from suicide in his flat.

    The high levels of publicity has given the whole ‘historical abuse’ claimant culture many friends, but for some it is an opportunity from a ‘listen to a child’ ethos to engage ‘a friend’ and listening ears, especially from lawyers with a mind to getting the individual riches beyond all their dreams, in many case to feed their drug and drinks habbit.

    The resignation letter to the Home Secretary is extra-ordinarily brief. This could be a case of read between the two lines! Could it be that Hon Dame Lowell Goddard QC has seen the light, bailing herself out now to protect her honour from being associated with so many non-credible witnesses, distancing herself from an inquiry left to drag out the last life’s breath of these false allegations?
    Only time and a large expense budget will tell.

  5. This almost smacks of establishment making the job impossible. Three high power chairs going is too much of a coincidence

  6. Lowell Goddard’s competitors for the role of child abuse inquiry chair:

     Australia – 3 nominations
     Canada – 2 nominations
     India – 4 nominations
     Malaysia – 2 nominations
     New Zealand – 3 nominations

  7. I feel that a phenomenal amount of money has been wasted on this and I am of the opinion that Goddard sees it will never reach any sensible conclusion and has thus resigned.
    I certainly don’t see any “shady” reason behind the resignation and thank you Mathew for taking the time to write these great blogs

  8. Can anyone confirm that the police withhold some of the details of murders, especially by serial killers, so that they can test the people who turn up and “confess” to the killings, and if it’s true, give an indication of how many people make such false confessions?

    Also, are there any official figures, eg recorded by the police, on the number of people who claim that they were abducted by aliens?

    Perhaps the authorities should run an experiment by publicising an official programme to compensate “abductees” and see how that affects the number of “claimants” after the publicity on compensation compared to before?!

  9. Isn’t it extraordinary, and a bit of a condemnation of our legal system, and perhaps our constitutional arrangements in general, that no indigenous judge can be found who is not too close to the establishment? What does that say about the baggage judges may bring to their day-to-day work, especially regarding cases with a political aspect to them?

    1. I think the problem is that all English judges are by definition part of “the establishment”. People who believe there is an “establishment conspiracy” will never accept an English judge.

      1. It would be helpful to have a list of everyone who is in the Establishment, so they can all be prevented from doing any useful public service.

  10. I’ll repeat my comment on the David Bryan false accusation blog about half of people recovering from anaesthesia experiencing such vivid hallucinations that they can’t distinguish them from reality, an especially relevant fact in the case of surgeons and dentists accused of, often bizzare, sexual crimes by patients, and, of course, Savile, who seemed to spend half his life wheeling people in and out of operating theatres, with lots of other patients realising they had suffered a similar fate when claims are publicised, and endless acknowledgements of staff having heard rumours, but seen nothing.

    Interestingly, I could have sworn that when I heard about this on an unrelated Radio 4 documentary just before Savile blew up, I had heard that in half of those cases, ie a quarter in total, the hallucinations were of a sexual nature. However, another contributor gave a link to the recording and I can find no mention of the latter statistic. False memory? Conflation with another documentary (or perhaps a follow up discussion)? Self delusion?! Just old age?!?!

    My thanks to “Bandini” who commented:

    July 23, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    The radio programme is still available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ksc3b

    “Oh that’s very common indeed. When I worked at Addenbrookes we used to go and see all the patients who had been discharged from intensive care and about 50% of them had some form of delusional memory that probably came from that period and in some it was seriously distressing to them. A lot of them were to do with murder, theft and the importance of these memories is they are as real as I am sitting here with you today.”

    Of course the ‘memories’ of murder & theft can more easily be shown to be delusions than a ‘memory’ of a sexual assault, and those of alien abduction will be treated as the nonsense they presumably are.

    The programme (originally?) aired on Thu 19 Jul 2012 21:00 (perhaps I heard an unedited version?).

    The quote is from a section running from about seven and a half minutes to eight and a half minutes in.

    I would have thought that this would have been a major consideration in such discussions, but, as usual, elicited almost no interest, with just one other response from Margaret Jervis.

    1. “When I worked at Addenbrookes we used to go and see all the patients who had been discharged from intensive care and about 50% of them had some form of delusional memory”

      That must be, of course, 50% ADMITTED to some form of delusional memory.

      Your average granny is probably both going to be fully aware that she didn’t have wild group sex with the entire operating theatre team while dangling off the theatre lights, and never going to mention that she dreamed about it!

      Young children however…….

  11. The breadth of the inquiry is too vast to make any sense; the open-ended time scale is absurd. It’s effectively an investigation into an infinite array of potential events, plus a doubly infinite array of non-events invented by reason of lunacy or greed. It’s a hopeless idea in the first place.

    The only hope would be to narrow the scope, both in terms of institutions and times, and to incorporate the ability to hasten the investigation and prosecution of perjurers. I suggest that its focus be the police, the prosecuting authorities, and the secret services. What did they know and when did they know it? What was drawn to their attention, what were they asked to investigate, what did they investigate, what actions were taken? How often were they chasing false accusations?

    Even that might be too much, but more than that almost certainly is.

    The idea that you should simultaneously investigate Parliament and peripatetic piano teachers always was bonkers.

  12. The history of this ‘Inquiry’ being set up, and under its present terms, is demanding of an inquiry itself, if not a police investigation.

    But I note the ritual genuflection to ‘the victims’ many of whom are simply ‘claimants’ in the narrow and broad sense.

    It’s a pity Judge Fred Kaufmann in Canada is in his 80s. He might have have been an astute adjudicator having led a controversial inquiry into mass compo-driven claims of abuse in Nova Scotia.
    Several things to note. The original inquiry included ‘survivors’ on the panel. This was changed when Goddard took over and it became a full judicial enquiry. It was contrary to the rules because of bias. The ‘survivors’ were placed on a ‘consultative panel’ where they appear (after a few ructions) to be happily engaged picking up their dayrates.

    It was made clear that that the inquiry was not about compensation. But will this remain the case?
    What is the consultative panel engaged in doing I wonder? What is the ‘truth project’ all about?

    In the Australian Royal Commission re institutional abuse- which foreshadowed the structure of the inquiry and Goddard spent time studying during her tenure -it was not about compensation.

    But then it was – there is now a recommendation for a $4bn redress scheme – a sum likely to be dwarfed by any equivalent UK proposal.

    What’s more even while the evidential hearings continue there are huge disputes about who foots the bill, how much claimants’ get, on what evidential standard and whether prior settlements exclude payments under the scheme.

    Since the fact of the scheme has encouraged more claimants, it’s likely that the proposed sum will be rachetted up way beyond the original estimate.

    Quite how this will further ‘truth and justice’ never mind improve existing services for children in need remains to be seen.

    However, I predict that a redress scheme will similarly become the main focus of the Inquiry over time, if it ever gets underway that it.

    If this intention and plan was made explicit at the outset, the public would have a clearer idea of the vested interests at stake in any evidential sessions.

    There is another deep-seated problem. Over the past 25 years there have been many investigations, trials,convictions and inquiries, including the Waterhouse Tribunal and the numerous Savile ‘rubber-stamping’ inquiries.

    This has established a body of ‘knowledge’ and presumptions that will be imported into the Inquiry.
    The problem is, how safe are some or many of these findings? And how will any misplaced ‘presumptions’ distort subsequent ‘findings’?

    The VIP fiasco – so intricately woven in with the setting up of the Inquiry – ought to be its deathknell. Instead, building on this, and the late Richard Webster’s The Secret of Bryn Estyn on the North Wales evolution, an inquiry into the the reliability of investigations and safeguards against wrongful conviction and unsound inquiry findings established. Given the number of presumptive Savile ‘inquiries’ there is no shortage of material.

    Methods of testing need to be tested – going back to pre-Cleveland days – before the same old presumptions are applied to further exacerbate existing flaws which can only further harm the fabric of society and the welfare of children.

      1. “And although I’m afraid I don’t go all the way with you on Savile”

        Matthew, I’m very glad to hear that, given that Savile was caught on camera committing sex assaults on two occasions, and on audio-tape on a third one. So, those who say that no evidence against Savile exists are lying or delusional, or prefer to ignore the evidence in front of their own eyes.

          1. @Mr B J Mann

            Perhaps you want your eyes tested.

            Where in my post did I state that there were ‘a couple of Savile snuff movies’?

  13. I’ve had such a long day I misread the subheading as “child sex enquiry now needs a complete robot

    Inquirobot2100©

    Excellent blog post as always btw but I’m all about the robots now.

  14. Matthew, good blogpost as always, can’t disagree with any of it.

    One point that you’ve not specifically highlighted is that all three inquiry chairs appointed to date have been female. I’ve had the impression May insisted the chair be a woman, don’t know if there’s any truth in that. Now that May has been elevated to number 10, I wonder would Rudd dare appoint a male, and if she would, will May accede to her?

  15. Why are we not able to be honest about this fiasco? We don’t need this enquiry and it is a massive waste of public money. That money would be far better spent in dealing with current day problems. There are thousands of children, (and indeed adults,) living in penury and who don’t know where their next meal will come from or whether they will have a roof over their heads next week. I would prefer that the money that this outsized inquiry costs was spent on dealing with the sort of problem that I have referred to, or perhaps injected into the NHS.

    The whole thing is an utter load of baloney.

    1. @ome miserum. So you want the UK to become a corrupt, third World Country, where things are swept under the carpet to save a few pounds, and red faces. Justice Is Indivisible.

      1. @David

        Ome miserum does at least come at the issue from a progressive, leftist viewpoint. His or her concern is that the inquiry is costing taxpayers’ money (much of it doubtless, going to already relatively well-heeled lawyers) at a time when, with the Tories in power, the poor are already being pinned to their collars in the UK.

        Unlike Ome miserum, the majority of the howling voices screeching that the inquiry be scrapped altogether aren’t really concerned that more money be made available for the underprivileged or the NHS. They aren’t consistent, otherwise they’d also be screeching about the costs of, for example, the banking bailouts. Actually, they’d as soon scrap the inquiry, AND privatise the NHS too (or what’s left of it).

        I think of for example the likes of the arch-Thatcherite Telegraph journalist (and that newspaper’s former editor) Charles Moore (though I must admit that I agreed with Moore on at least point, when he stated two years ago in one of his columns that the performance of the second inquiry chair Fiona Wolf, when being questioned by the relevant House of Commons Committee, simply wasn’t up-to-scratch).

  16. Matthew

    We come at this subject (child sexual abuse) from very differing backgrounds and viewpoints, but not for the first time I found your piece well-argued and thoughtful.

    However: a small factual error crept in. It is, I’m afraid, not true to say that all the allegations involving Leon Brittan “have been exhaustively investigated and found wanting”. It is certainly true that those put forward in the so-called “Jane” case and those deriving from the Exaro-promoted complainant known as “Nick” have been dropped.

    But as my own blog – which publishes the evidence I submitted to Goddard last weekend – makes clear, the Metropolitan Police do have other evidence which, to the best of my knowledge and belief, has not been dropped or dismissed.

    Could I suggest you take a look at my submission ? It’s the latest piece on my blog at http://www.timtate.co.uk

    Best wishes

    1. Well you have got a few facts wrong. You say the age of consent in the mid 1980’s for girls was 16, and for boys 21. That is wrong. The age of consent in the mid 1980’s was 16 for boys, and girls. However the age of consent for two males was 21.

  17. David

    If that is the best attempt at criticism you can make, it’s time to give up.

    The blog makes very clear that the age of consent for boys referred to was for homosexual activity.

    1. It was not criticism, it was not made very clear. However I was interested in your information on PIE, Britton, but mostly Elm Guest House.

      EGH is still an enigma, and very much involved in the Midland investigation, although, as Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said, ‘ The Public may never know full background to Operation Midland’.

      As you know,Colin Peters, a Foreign Office barrister, was allegedly a regular at the Elm Guest House in London. In 1989, Peters was jailed for being part of a sophisticated network of people who molested hundreds of children. It was claimed Peters used camera equipment and hired a conference room at the guesthouse. There was only one reason to do that and that was to make porn films of the boys. There was a sauna attached to the room, which was also used.” So if anyone filmed Britton it might have been him.

      1989- It was remarked that Peters, then aged 43, a barrister and tax adviser, was seen as “a key figure in the ring”. Others involved, Alan Delaney, aged 48, a company director, received 11 years; Victor Burnett, 43, received nine years; and Ernest Whittington, aged 64, was sentenced to six years

      There is this FOI attempt to release information about his arrest along with another man, Alistair Laing, back in 1967/68 in Naples, when they both worked for HM Diplomatic Service. The record for this piece of information is not due to be opened until January, 2056

      Alistair Laing after leaving the civil service then worked on an art history book with ex-Spy, academic, traitor and art historian, Anthony Blunt.

      Then we come to July 2015, A former civil servant at the centre of allegations that a paedophile ring once operated in the heart of Westminster has been arrested.
      The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was questioned earlier this year on suspicion of assaulting a boy in London in the late 1970s. It is claimed that he was part of a ring that had links to top civil servants and public figures. He also allegedly visited the now notorious Elm Guest House. The man’s alleged victim spoke to the Metropolitan Police earlier this year to say he was abused on several occasions, beginning when he was 12.

      The alleged victim also claimed the man introduced him to two others, who also abused him. All three men have been arrested and bailed until October while police inquiries continue. This case has now vanished !!

  18. According to Commentary On the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, “There are no degrees of integrity as so defined. Integrity is absolute. In the judiciary, integrity is more than a virtue; it is a necessity…” Lowell Goddard lacks integrity. It therefore doesn’t matter whether she adds “QC” to her title or not, and whether her resignation letter was typed by her or someone else. She shouldn’t have been appointed to IICSA in the first place. I believe it’s in everyone’s interests that she’s gone sooner rather than later.

    The facts and the documents concerning Goddard’s judicial misconduct, as recent as 2014, were put before the Home Affairs Committee before Goddard’s appointment. They were ignored, because the official line at the time was, “Goddard has impeccable record”.

    Matthew, you say that “This is a site on which you can feel free to discuss any and every legal issue, whether or not you are a lawyer.” Do you mind to express your opinion on whether a participation in a cover-up of an improper assignment and fraudulent (whether malicious or reckless) misrepresentations in a judgment are OK for a person who chairs IICSA, or even for an ordinary judge, for that matter?

    The copies of all relevant documents are at https://www.fairhearing.info/judges/lowell-goddard/

  19. This whole sick farce should be scrapped, it is simply encouraging nutters like NAPAC with their pathetic stories about how their lives were ruined by phantom gropes from the local vicar.

    They should shut down the entire abuse industry; there are better ways of protecting kids and women from genuine sexual predators than pandering to self-styled survivors.

  20. This is a billion pound (if not multi-billion pound) industry, where many people and organisations have come to rely on it for income. Charity and after charity have revealed their opportunism on the whatever publicity they can get, giving interviews on the BBC News post a judicial event. Commonly the incredible content, non-empirical data studies are being used to help publicise their organisation, constantly marketing themselves as the authorative. This at a time when giving through chairitble donations is less and less and it has become a ‘bun fight’ in competitive processes to gaining funds, for their individual cause. They will try any method through their PR and marketing to be heard. Some reports produced by the NSPCC , are frankly sensational, claiming high percentages of sexual abuse within the population. Claims made on the strength of researching comments from just a few people,making out this represents the population as a whole. If we allow this high productions of comment and reports from these organisations, there will become a time when all of the data and organisations are fully discredited. What happens then to real victims of the serious sexual offences?

    At this time there is little concern for victims come about byallegations of serious sexual offences; with lives being scrambled by the mischievous ‘complainents and ignored by the justice system of treating us with due diligence, care, respect or being given the opportunity of claiming redress. We are currently a very sick society.

    My feelings I have expressed on my webpage – http://www.false-arrest.co.uk/index.php?id=police-operations-lessons-never-rarely-learned

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