5 Sunday Times / Times Articles on Goddard Abuse Inquiry Resignation

Five pieces [one added 11.35 Aug 7th, one added Aug 8th] 4 from the Sunday Times -two articles and two opinion efforts from Aug 7th and one from The Times Aug 8th

They all very much follow the pro Janner, anti Goddard, anti child sexual abuse inquiry as there is no Westminster child sexual abuse, propaganda, that the paper has been pushing out recently. Whether the strands are linked is a matter to be found out…

That said there is some interesting information, but can lawyers be trusted, especially considering the characters they get to support them? eg usual suspects Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times, Libby Purves in the Times and David Rose in the Mail  [6] Child abuse inquiry judge Dame Lowell Goddard did not resign – she was ‘sacked’, legal sources reveal. To be fair I know nothing of Robert Mendick at this time but here is his article in the Telegraph [5] Lord Janner’s family in legal bid to exclude him from child sex ?

A contrary view to the above is available here 2016 Aug 5 Guardian [7] The Guardian view on the child abuse inquiry: don’t stop now

Are the establishment pulling together to use this opportunity to shut down the inquiry? It should also be remembered that all lawyers for the inquiry should be under some sort of confidentiality clause and if we have lawyers on the inquiry blabbing, what does this say about their trustworthiness?

2016 Aug 7 The Sunday Times [1] GODDARD RESIGNATION Pantomime dame Out of her depth and out of a job: how the child abuse inquiry lost its head

In the Millbank offices of the child sex abuse inquiry, tensions between Dame Lowell Goddard and her team had been building for some time.

They reached a climax on Thursday when a source alerted The Sunday Times. “The confrontation with Goddard will take place today,” the insider said. “If she tries to cling to office and goes to Theresa May or Amber Rudd, she will discover that there is no support for her.”

A few hours later Goddard had gone — tendering a curt resignation letter that was immediately accepted by Rudd, the home secretary. It was the culmination of months of unrest in which the New Zealand high court judge, appointed in February last year, had suffered a “terminal” loss of confidence in her by her legal team and fellow panellists.

Staff were unhappy with her “autocratic” manner, and she was said to be disdainful of the four panellists who sat alongside her. The lawyers working for her and those appearing in the hearings had lost faith in her ability to accomplish her mission.

On Friday, Rudd met representatives of child sex abuse survivors to reassure them that the inquiry would continue, but there are growing fears that its remit is simply too unwieldy for one person to control.

Goddard may get a three-month severance payment of around £90,000 and will continue to use a £2,000-a-week flat in Knightsbridge, west London, until she returns to New Zealand or makes other arrangements. Her brief tenure has proved a painful and expensive diversion from the government’s long-term goals of clarity and resolution of a debilitating social ill.

According to an insider, the final straw came two weeks ago during a preliminary hearing into the case of the late Lord Janner. Goddard appeared baffled by a request for reporting restrictions to be imposed and admitted that she was unfamiliar with “local law”.

It was an “uncomfortable” moment for those involved, said the insider. Another described it as a “disaster” that made her position impossible.

Goddard had become a laughing stock. She could not make straightforward decisions of law

Early last week, rumours began circulating that the inquiry staff were upset by Goddard’s behaviour, as well as her apparently shaky grasp of the minutiae of UK law. One source said: “Is she difficult? Yes. You need a thick skin to work with her.”

Another went further: “Goddard’s treatment of the staff and of the panel of four assisting her has been autocratic. She made it clear that she had no time for the panel and would like to run things herself.

“But she also seems to have a poor memory, which became painfully obvious.” Last week’s reports that Goddard had spent three months out of the country during her first year in charge merely compounded the concerns of many close to the inquiry.

One senior criminal QC noted: “There is a widely held view that Goddard was simply out of her depth and had become something of a laughing stock. She could not even make straightforward decisions of law and lacked the absolutely vital confidence of QCs appearing in front of her.”

The decision by the inquiry to devote its first investigation into allegations against Janner had been a “PR disaster” and veered out of control, according to insiders.

“It went off-piste and became all about establishing guilt instead of doing what it was set up to do, [which was] look at institutions,” said one.

Ben Emmerson QC, the counsel to the inquiry, bears some responsibility for the Janner controversy. He suggested at the first preliminary hearing that the inquiry was likely to make “findings of fact” on whether some of the allegations were true.

That led to widespread criticism in legal circles over the justice of making such decisions when the accused was dead and the cross-examination of witnesses was not allowed.

Janner’s son Daniel, himself a QC, yesterday called for the investigation into his father to be scrapped. “Goddard should never have taken my father’s case as the only strand focusing on an individual rather than an institution,” he said.

“He was never convicted of any offence, and singling out an innocent person for the one non-institutional strand reflects a serious failure of judgment.”

Janner went on: “My family seeks justice. This can be achieved in the civil proceedings when the false accusations can be properly and fully cross-examined, whereas they cannot in this inquiry.”

Another barrister, Matthew Scott, who has taken a close interest in the proceedings, added: “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.”

Scott added: “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 . . . ‘I’m afraid it can’t work; I’m going to tear it up and start it again.’ ”

Goddard was appointed after two previous chairwomen, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Dame Fiona Woolf, had quit after being seen by abuse victims as too close to the Establishment.

The first substantive hearings are not due until March 2017, by which time the inquiry will have cost around £36m before a single piece of evidence has been heard.

The search for a successor is under way, but an interim chair may be appointed, with Alexis Jay, who already sits on the inquiry panel and led the highly regarded Rotherham child sex exploitation inquiry in 2014, seen as the most likely candidate.

It is not impossible that Jay will become full-time chairwoman to allow the inquiry to move on swiftly.

Goddard’s treatment of the staff and of the panel of four assisting her has been autocratic. She made it clear that she had no time for the panel and would like to run things herself

Goddard herself blamed her departure on the “legacy of failure” that dogged her appointment from the start. “The conduct of any public inquiry is not an easy task, let alone one of the magnitude of this,” she said in a statement. “Compounding the many difficulties was its legacy of failure, which has been very hard to shake off, and with hindsight it would have been better to have started completely afresh.”

Whoever replaces her will face a Herculean task. The inquiry remit is so wide and open-ended that any jurist might quake at the prospect of having to formulate a coherent approach.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, which has summoned Goddard and Rudd to a hearing on September 7, said it might be necessary to break up the inquiry into separate parts. This, however, would be a return to the situation that existed before May launched the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) when a number of inquiries were taking place simultaneously.

“It just may be that this is too big an inquiry,” said Vaz. “It may be better to do this in sections, because what we are also trying to do is stop abuse happening now, as we proceed, and we cannot do that if we are waiting 10 years or five years for a recommendation. We can’t just move on as if nothing has happened. We really do need to look into it.”

A government source played down the chances of any dramatic change in the inquiry’s scope or format: “It is ongoing. There are a lot of people who have been working on this for a while who are continuing to do that, so there are no suggestions that it will be scaled back or changed.”

Another problem for Goddard’s successor will come with the so-called Truth Project, in which survivors can give anonymised testimony of their experiences. Around 2,000 people are expected to testify and a hotline has been established for new complainants. Critics have said that the collection of testimony is “absorbing huge amounts of staff time” and is distracting from the inquiry’s core work on institutions.

Abuse victims, who have generally been impressed with Goddard’s sensitive attitude, are unlikely to approve any move to scrap it. Goddard may also have fallen foul of jealousy among London’s legal profession, given her £500,000 annual pay package and the fact that she was always viewed as an outsider.

Yet the speed with which she departed, once dissent over her role had become public, suggests that no amount of money or grand judicial lodgings could compensate for what became an impossible task.

Additional reporting: James Lyons

 

2016 Aug 7 The Sunday Times [2] Dominic Lawson Months wasted hunting headlines rather than the truth about child abuse

I am surprised everyone seems so surprised by the resignation of the highly expensive New Zealand import Dame Lowell Goddard as head of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.Well, not everyone. You, my dear readers, will recall that five months ago this column expressed incredulity at Dame Lowell’s £500,000 package (twice that of the lord chief justice): “It is not as if Goddard . . . is some sort of judicial superstar. In an admittedly unscientific recent survey of New Zealand’s 63 judges, she ranked 63rd. The compilers cited a trial she conducted, which on appeal was condemned by a ruling of five law lords from our own judicial committee of the privy council as follows: ‘It is impossible to imagine a clearer example of a trial that has gone off the rails.’”

All right, I had a bit of inside information; I had been picking up from those close to the inquiry just how, well, useless Goddard was. But that only became blazingly clear to onlookers two weeks ago, when at a preliminary hearing she seemed completely unfamiliar with British law on a straightforward matter involving non-disclosure, causing the inquiry’s chief counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, visible embarrassment.

It was also evident, at least according to the account of an astounded Joshua Rozenberg, the leading legal correspondent present, that the four panel members of the inquiry “were not on speaking terms with her”. That’s because they (along with the legal team) had completely lost confidence in Goddard; and in turn, that’s why she had to go. The Home Office already knew how bad things had got, which is why the new home secretary, Amber Rudd, took about a second to accept Goddard’s two-sentence letter of resignation.

The useless Goddard seemed completely unfamiliar with British law

Light comedy was accidentally provided that evening on BBC’s Newsnight by the former children’s minister Tim Loughton, as he declared crossly that Goddard was “deeply impressive, and I know she’s greatly respected by the people she’s got working closely around her”. The unfailingly foolish Loughton was one of the Tories who had backed the Labour MP Tom Watson’s completely spurious allegations under parliamentary privilege that there had been a paedophile conspiracy at the heart of Westminster.

This was the febrile atmosphere in which the then home secretary Theresa May set up an inquiry with the almost impossibly extensive remit of investigating how every single British institution, both public and private, had failed to protect children from abuse over the past 45 years. To compound the problem, Mrs May performed the unfortunate hat-trick of hand-picking three chairwomen (no man was eligible, apparently), each of whom has been found unsuitable for mission impossible.

Gordon Brown used to joke (no, really) that “there are two sorts of chancellors: those who fail and those who get out in time”. Mrs May, now safely installed at No 10, has demonstrated the same can be said of home secretaries.

But she cannot be blamed for the specific way in which, under Goddard, the inquiry immediately went off the rails. Remember that its remit, as stated in its terms of reference, was: “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.”

So how did Goddard begin her investigations and hearings? Not into a public institution with legally proven cases of sexual abuse under its watch (such as the Church of England or the BBC) but a single individual against whom nothing had been proved: the late Lord (Greville) Janner. It is true that at the time of his death, Janner — who had severe dementia — was under the cloud of a 2015 Crown Prosecution Service statement that it had evidence which would have justified prosecution of the peer for sexual assaults against youths. However, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, also said “this was an extremely difficult and borderline case”.

Not according to the media, still in a frenzy following the ludicrous assertion by the police that the late Jimmy Savile had “groomed the nation”. This was not just a tabloid frenzy. In an editorial after Janner’s death last December, The Guardian angrily declared that he “is now beyond justice, at least of the earthly kind. Nor will his victims get their day in court.” Not even “alleged victims”. The Guardian just knew Janner was guilty: who needs a trial?

Unfortunately, the same belief seems to have been held by the inquiry’s chief counsel, a volatile campaigning lawyer with an eye for the news (and sometime Guardian columnist). Again, to quote this column from last March: “On the first day of the inquiry’s proceedings, its QC, Ben Emmerson, declared that he would attempt to make ‘findings of fact’ in cases of individual abuse, blithely referring to ‘Lord Janner and other individuals allegedly associated with him in his offending’.”

I believe that Emmerson, like his favourite newspaper, saw Janner as the easiest of targets and that it would bring the inquiry early kudos (not to mention press coverage) if it brought “findings of fact” that the peer had indeed been a child abuser.

Goddard backed Emmerson up by declaring that “the naming of people that have been responsible for the sexual abuse of children . . . is a core aspect of the inquiry’s function”. But it wasn’t, and not only because the late Greville Janner was not an institution. The Inquiries Act 2005 tells Goddard that she must not “determine any person’s civil or criminal liability”.

Although the inquiry seemed prepared to do exactly that, it made clear to Janner’s family that its representatives would not be allowed to subject witnesses to cross-examination. These would remain anonymous, behind a screen. When Janner’s son Daniel — a leading criminal barrister — protested, he got a letter from the inquiry conceding only that it was “likely to exercise discretion to allow direct questioning sparingly, with due regard to the need to protect vulnerable witnesses”.

I wrote here last March that I had no idea whether Janner’s family or his accusers were right, but “as legal process, this stinks”. It has since emerged that Janner’s principal accuser, now middle-aged, in 1991 made false allegations of sexual assault against the woman running the care home he had lived in, Barbara Fitt — at the same time he first told police he had been abused by Janner. Mrs Fitt was exonerated later that year, but died suddenly at the age of 44, months after she had been formally cleared.

In common with others who much later came forward with similar allegations against Janner, this principal accuser is making civil claims for damages against the late peer’s estate. So when their lawyer, Liz Dux of Slater and Gordon, declared that her clients (some of whom have convictions for fraud and obtaining property by deception) “are not motivated by anything other than getting to the truth,” that, itself, is not the whole truth.

The other truth is that the inquiry should, after more than a year of mismanagement and £18m of costs, drop its headline-hunting obsession with a peer who (being dead) cannot defend himself — and devote itself to its statutory duty.

2016 Aug 7 The Sunday Times [3] Scrap this inquiry and think afresh

Amber Rudd, the home secretary, intends to find a replacement for Dame Lowell Goddard as quickly as possible, and says “the success of this inquiry remains an absolute priority for this government”. As an immediate reaction to Dame Lowell’s departure, that is perhaps understandable. The child abuse inquiry was, after all, established two years ago by her predecessor, now her boss, Theresa May.

Mrs May, in establishing the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, clearly believed she was doing the right thing. Last year she said child abuse was “woven, covertly, into the fabric” of British society. She could be forgiven for thinking so. The full scale of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal was only then emerging. The air was full of allegations of abuse by former politicians, many of them Tories, with a number of the allegations promoted by Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader. On the back of the Savile affair and the conviction of Rolf Harris, other entertainers — often wrongly, it turned out — were in the police’s sights.

Things have changed. It is now clear that many of the allegations against politicians and entertainers were either malicious or the imaginings of fantasists. It is also clear that the inquiry is too big and unwieldy to succeed.

Dame Lowell, its third chairwoman, warned before taking on the role that an inquiry that “does not have achievable goals . . . cannot deliver”. She was right. As home secretary, Mrs May spent wisely to tackle the scourge of modern slavery in Britain. Her successor needs to find a better way to spend the money on learning the lessons of the past and preventing future child sexual abuse. Persisting with this inquiry is not it.

Updated 11.35 Aug 7th with this article

Links

[1] 2016 Aug 7 The Sunday Times GODDARD RESIGNATION Pantomime dameOut of her depth and out of a job: how the child abuse inquiry lost its head http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pantomime-dame-kdjs080mr

[2] 2016 Aug 7 The Sunday Times Dominic Lawson Months wasted hunting headlines rather than the truth about child abuse http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/a-year-wasted-hunting-headlines-rather-than-the-truth-about-child-abuse-zf9n69d96

[3] 2016 Aug 7 The Sunday Times Scrap this inquiry and think afresh http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scrap-this-inquiry-and-think-afresh-5njpcvzln

[4] 2016 Aug 7 The Sunday Times GODDARD RESIGNATION Mutinous lawyers toppled head of sex abuse inquiry http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mutinous-lawyers-toppledhead-of-sex-abuse-inquiry-25t55xxs8

[5] 2016 Aug 6 Telegraph Robert Mendick Lord Janner’s family in legal bid to exclude him from child sex abuse inquiry http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/06/lord-janners-family-in-legal-bid-to-exclude-him-from-child-sex-a/

[6] 2016 Aug 7 Daily Mail David Rose Child abuse inquiry judge Dame Lowell Goddard did not resign – she was ‘sacked’, legal sources reveal http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3727441/Child-abuse-inquiry-judge-Dame-Lowell-Goddard-did-not-resign-sacked-legal-sources-reveal.html

[7] 2016 Aug 5 Guardian The Guardian view on the child abuse inquiry: don’t stop now https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/05/the-guardian-view-on-the-goddard-inquiry-dont-stop-now

[8] Cathy Fox Blog Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/newspaper-stories-index-timeline/

[9] 2016 Jan 8 The Times  Libby Purves This farce of an inquiry needs a total rethink http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/this-farce-of-an-inquiry-needs-a-total-rethink-cs9xbbqq3

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This entry was posted in #OpDeathEaters, cathy fox blog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, IICSA Goddard / Jay child sexual abuse Inquiry, IICSA Independent panel inquiry into child sexual abuse, Newspaper Articles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 5 Sunday Times / Times Articles on Goddard Abuse Inquiry Resignation

  1. l8in says:

    Reblogged this on L8in.

  2. D Vaver says:

    For the sake of accuracy: the statement in D. Lawson’s article that “The compilers cited a trial she [Goddard] conducted, which on appeal was condemned by a ruling of five law lords from our own judicial committee of the privy council as follows: ‘It is impossible to imagine a clearer example of a trial that has gone off the rails.’” is wrong. The “ruling” is in fact a quote from the opinion of the two dissenting judges; the majority of the 3 privy council judges dismissed the appeal, while saying that Goddard’s errors “were undoubtedly serious and regrettable, but their Lordships do not consider that they changed the direction of the trial or that the conviction was fundamentally flawed.” See Howse v. R (New Zealand) [2005] UKPC 31, http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/2005/31.html.

  3. TIM TATE says:

    I apologise if this seems self-serving (it’s not meant to be) but my detailed written submission to Goddard set out very clearly – and from first-hand experience – why an enquiry into historic failings re: paedophilia is important & needed. The submission can be viewed on the blog page of my website – http://www.timtate.co.uk

  4. TIM TATE says:

    Good point ! I’m not sure how to solve this – but if it helps I can send you a copy of the submission which you’re welcome to post also.

  5. TIM TATE says:

    I’ve e-mailed it to you.

  6. Pingback: 4 Times Articles on Goddard Abuse Inquiry Resignation | cathy fox blog | circusbuoy

  7. Pingback: Index / Timeline Newspaper clippings blogged by Cathy Fox Blog | cathy fox blog

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