Michael Walter 23 May 1988 Court of Appeal (Church)

The several appeals posted today are all relevant to the Christian Church. See a list of all of them here at the end of the day – Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

Defendant was a vicar in Hull and the offences convicted were minor physical abuse.


Some court reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted.

This is a difficult balance –  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details.

In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” to protect victims details, there may also be “assault redaction” across most of the spectrum of abuse. The assaults are left in the charges, but mainly redacted when repeated with reference to the individual. I have also redacted unnecessary detail of assaults.

Redaction may obscure sometimes the legal reason for the appeal, but should make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That vital information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, institutions where assaults occurred, the actual charges the perpetrators faced, and dates – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

Some transcripts may have been subject to automatic reading software and whilst effort has been made to correct these, the text should not be regarded as definitive.  Common mistakes in reprinting here are that quotation marks are sometimes not correct, replaced by odd symbols.

If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

This appeal is unredacted by cathy fox blog

Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog [1]

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

[1988] EWCA Crim J0523-2

No. 819/F2/88


Monday, 23rd May 1988

Lord Justice May



Michael Walter

(Transcript of the Shorthand Notes of Marten Walsh Cherer Ltd., Pemberton House, East Harding Street, London, EC4A 3AS. Telephone No: 01-583 7635. Shorthand Writers to the Court).

MR. T. CRACKNELL appeared on behalf of the Appellant.


(As approved by Judge)

MR. JUSTICE KENNEDY: On 22nd January, 1988, in the Crown Court at Beverley, the appellant was convicted and sentenced in respect of three offences of common assault. The sentence in respect of each of those offences was one of six months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, those sentences to run concurrently. He now appeals against sentence by leave of the single judge.

The appellant was at the material time 51 years of age and, in 1970, he was convicted of an offence of indecent assault, for which he served a sentence of imprisonment. From 1985 to 1986 he was the vicar of a church in Hull. Children used to visit the vicarage and the appellant would on occasions take them on outings in groups. Coming to the first common assault, a boy of 10 in June/July, 1985 was playing draughts with the appellant and he accused the appellant of cheating. The appellant then hit him across the head with his left hand, knocking the boy to one side, so that his head hit the kitchen wall. The boy then left and went home in tears.

The second common assault occurred in July/August, 1986, when a girl, who was then 12, visited the vicarage in order to play with the appellant’s train set. He twisted her arm behind her back and she ran home in tears. The pain continued for some time that evening, but she said that she did not think that the appellant had meant to hurt her and that the incident had started as a bit of fun. She returned to the vicarage on subsequent occasions until she was prevented from going there by her parents.

The third offence of common assault related to a girl who was then 14 years of age. On one day during the summer of 1986, she had also been playing with the appellant’s train set. She touched a button which sent the train onto a different track, the appellant stood up and slapped her across the right cheek with the flat of his hand, leaving a red mark, and she then stopped visiting him.

On 10th December, 1986 police officers visited the appellant having been alerted by the Child Watch organisation. In June, 1987 he was arrested. It is important to appreciate that there were in this indictment serious charges of indecent assault, of which he was acquitted.

In the grounds of appeal, which are put forward on his behalf, reference is made to the fact that there was no injury of any lasting nature occasioned to any child, and each of the assaults was a reaction to bad behaviour on the part of a child. There was no evidence of sadism or gratuitous violence. It is submitted that the 1970 incident really has no bearing at all because it was of an entirely different character and here the learned judge was dealing with a man who had not been shown to behave in this way towards children on any prior occasion and who clearly accomplished a great deal of good in the parish which he served.

It seems to us that there is force in all of those submissions and that it was not appropriate here for the learned judge to pass a sentence of imprisonment. The sentence which ought to have been imposed was one of conditional discharge.

Accordingly, the sentences which were imposed will be quashed and there will be substituted for them a sentence of 12 months’ conditional discharge.

LORD JUSTICE MAY: Mr. Cracknell, is it possible for you to undertake to explain to Mr. Walter the effect of the conditional discharge?

MR. CRACKNELL: My Lord, Mr. Walter is here.

LORD JUSTICE MAY: If he is here, you can explain precisely what a conditional discharge means and what the consequences will be if (and we hope not) that conditional discharge is broken in the 12 months from the date of conviction.

MR. CRACKNELL: I will do that now.

LORD JUSTICE MAY: Very well. Thank you very much indeed.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]


About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in cathyfoxblog, Child Abuse, Church abuse, Humberside, physical abuse and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Michael Walter 23 May 1988 Court of Appeal (Church)

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court and Court of Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathy fox blog on child abuse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.