NO survivors on the Goddard child sex abuse inquiry panel

Justice Lowell Goddard giving evidence to House of Commons home affairs committee today. Pic credit: BBC

Justice Lowell Goddard giving evidence to House of Commons home affairs committee today. Pic credit: BBC

The Theresa May experiment to appoint survivors to the new inquiry into historical child sexual abuse is over.

Both  the new ” non establishment”  chair Justice Lowell Goddard in her evidence to the Commons home affairs select committee and Graham Wilmer,a former member of the panel, in a letter  disclosed today on Exaro confirm this.

As Lowell Goddard said: “There are inherent risks in having people with personal experience of abuse as members of an impartial and independent panel.”

Frankly the row and bitter campaign by some organisations, l am afraid like the Survivors Alliance, against people appointed to the panel has ended in excluding survivors voices in the writing of the report. They have shot themselves in the foot.

They will obviously be some appointed to an advisory panel – but no one should kid themselves – that they will have the same influence as a member of the panel. It will be up to the judge to decide how often and how much they will be consulted but up to her and her QC adviser, Ben Emmerson, to decide what  will appear in the report. A radical experiment in setting up an inquiry to deal with one of the nastiest and most persistent blots in British public life – the exploitation of children by paedophiles – has been killed  with the help of the very people who suffered that fate.

As Graham Wilmer wrote: “I wanted to inform you that I will not be making any application to be part of the new Goddard inquiry, either as a panel member or as part of any survivors’ advisory group, in whatever form that may take.

“My reasons are these: firstly, I am led to understand that the new panel will not include any survivors, so making an application would be pointless in any case.”

He also blames what he describes as “the clarion voices” of people who falsely claim to represent those who suffered sexual abuse in their childhood, “and the aggressive and abusive tactics of the lone-wolf campaigners, together with the questionable motives of some lawyers and others who claim to represent the interests of survivors.”

There will still be people appointed to the panel but it is now clear they will be professional experts none of whom have had any experience of child sexual abuse themselves.

In my view this a very great shame – it was very difficult to achieve. But survivors will be able to speak to the inquiry and also to the new People’s Tribunal now in the process of being set which has survivors on its steering committee.

18 thoughts on “NO survivors on the Goddard child sex abuse inquiry panel

  1. How much lower are you going to sink David? Playing the blame game already
    So people can’t complain about an obvious ly rigged enquiry and end up getting another obviously rigged enquiry as a result of complaining about a rigged enquiry and it’s all their fault

    What planet do you live on?

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  2. Pingback: Graham Wilmer: CSA inquiry panel to have no abuse survivors | Catholic Canada

  3. Surprise Surprise!!!, Questionable elements allegedly representing survivors interests manage to de-rail an inquiry into recently demised persons alleged links to paedophile activity?…Own goal? Or target destroyed? answers on a postcard to:- errrr, not sure really.
    Well done black ops boys.

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  4. Exaro’s latest ‘revelation’ about Leon Brittan refers also to Stingemore and Elm. Now that Stingemore is dead, Exaro claim that 2 of the 11 charges he was to face “related directly to Elm Guest House.”

    http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5495/leon-brittan-faced-met-questions-over-elm-guest-house-visits

    Previously, Exaro made it clear that NONE of the original 11 charges against Stingemore related to Elm:

    “None of the charges against Stingemore or McSweeney relates to the guest house.”

    http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5339/cps-to-reinstate-key-charges-after-error-over-elm-guest-house

    However, 3 of those original 11 charges were dropped before being reinstated (15th August 2014). Now confusion enters, which is what Exaro seems to specialise in. Exaro claimed that:

    “Update 15 August 2014: The Met today announced that the charges dropped by the CPS against Stingemore and McSweeney late last year were today formally reinstated.
    In addition, the Met announced NEW CHARGES against Stingemore, including one count of buggery of a boy under 16 in 1980 or 1981. He also faces a further charge of indecent assault of a boy under 16 during the same period”

    Presumably these 2 additional charges are those which Exaro would like us to now believe directly related to Elm. However, if this were the case the total number of charges to have been faced by Stingemore would have been 13, not 11.

    What’s more, while Exaro claimed that the Met announced the ‘new charges’, other sources paint a slightly different picture; those lovable personal injury lawyers ‘Leigh Day’, for example, made it clear that while the CPS reinstated the 3 dropped charges it was the Met who “announced that it would be PURSUING new charges against Stingemore, including a further count of buggery against a boy under 16 as well as a further count of indecent assault.”

    http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2014/August-2014/Key-charges-against-Operation-Fernbridge-suspects

    I’m not sure that the CPS charging someone with a crime is quite the same as the Met announcing plans to “pursue a charge”. Did the CPS ever actually give the go-ahead for Stingemore to be charged with the 2 additional counts (i.e. the Elm-related counts) or not?

    If they did so, today’s Exaro piece is incorrect, as the charges he would have faced would surely have added up to 13, and not 11:

    11 minus the 3 initially-dropped charges = 8.
    8 plus the 3 reinstated charges = 11.
    11 plus 2 new charges = 13.

    If they did NOT do so, Exaro would be misleading us into thinking that they had “achieved” an Elm-prosecution (and only Stingemore’s death stopped ’em!).

    So, take your pick: accidentally erroneous article or smoke & mirrors.

    As the latest states:

    “Beyond Stingemore, no one who was sexually assaulted as a boy at Elm Guest House has been able to identify an abuser there, leaving detectives with NO EVIDENCE on which to base any OTHER prosecution.”

    But surely those boys who provided the names on the guest-list could do so?!? That is, if the names on the “guest-list” were ever provided by boys who were present at Elm. And if they weren’t, what has this all been about?

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    • Bandini

      There was a lot of confusion over the charges.You are right to say there were no charges over Elm Guest House and then they were reinstated after Exaro and Tom Watson asked the Crown Prosecution service to review the case. But to complicate matters further some other charges were dropped causing further confusion and this was not made clear.

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      • Thanks for the reply, but I’m afraid you are just complicating things even further.

        You state that: “… there were no charges over Elm Guest House and then they were reinstated”. Sorry, but this implies that the charges which were dropped – only to be later reinstated – related to Elm. But that is simply not the case unless Exaro’s articles are generously riddled with mistakes (ahem!). Besides, how can something be reinstated if it wasn’t there in the first place?!?

        In the articles I linked to it can clearly be seen that the reinstated charges did NOT relate to Elm. In Exaro’s words, not mine.

        As I have been unable to find any supporting evidence (CPS/Met/anything) to back-up the post-death claim that 2 charges did, in fact, “directly relate” to Elm, wouldn’t it be easier to simply provide the information – or a link – which sets out the full list of charges (11 according to Exaro today) which Stingemore would have faced, had he not expired?

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  5. Pingback: New judge appointed for child abuse inquiry – third time lucky? | Vox Political

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