Putting Lawyers First: Will the Child Sex Abuse Inquiry really benefit survivors?

New Zealand dame Justice Lowell Goddard : Putting lawyers first pic credit: http://www.teara.govt.nz/

New Zealand dame Justice Lowell Goddard : Putting lawyers first pic credit: http://www.teara.govt.nz/

The extraordinary disclosure reported on the Exaro website and in The Sunday Times today that the Goddard Judicial inquiry into child sexual abuse will recruit a record number of in-house QCs and lawyers raises  more than just a few eyebrows.

It appears that Ben Emmerson, the QC who survived the cull that abolished the independent panel, will be interviewing for 20 more barristers – ten of them QC’s – this month This far outstrips the number employed for the Leveson inquiry into the press or the very long running Saville Inquiry into the  Northern Ireland ” Bloody Sunday ” atrocity.

It is not surprising that survivors – already excluded from the panel and any meaningful input into the proceedings – have reacted with fury. If you also take into account that every organisation from the police to local government, the security services to Whitehall and ministers, would want to bring along their own QC at public expense, you can see where the phrase ” lawyer fest” comes from.

And you have to add that most of the remaining shrunk panel are also lawyers or connected to the law. The remaining people are  Alexis Jay, author of the report last year on CSA in Rotherham; Drusilla Sharpling, barrister and former senior prosecutor; Malcolm Evans, professor of public international law; and Ivor Frank, barrister and advisor to the Home Office..Only Alexis Jay is not connected to the law.

If you compare the Goddard panel with the former Hillsborough Panel and the Gosport Independent Panel (I declare an interest I am a member) and you can see how the members come from diverse backgrounds with different interests. They are not predominately lawyers.

True it is clear that  Emmerson has asked for a wide range of legal expertise including specialists in child care, local authorities, public law and criminal law.But that is not the same as having a mix of people with different experience away from the law courts.

Indeed the whole process could end up as  being an intimidatory experience for any survivor wishing to give evidence.

Ben Emmerson: A Thomas Cromwell figure? Pic Credit: UN

Ben Emmerson: A Thomas Cromwell figure?
Pic Credit: UN

There is also a question about Emmerson himself. He is a very well-regarded human rights lawyer but he is also ( according to past members of the panel ) an arrogant and bombastic figure who might well create division rather than the healing process needed in such a sensitive area.

His powers of patronage are large and he appears to be creating his own Empire  Indeed in another century  a parallel could be drawn with Thomas Cromwell  – a brilliant lawyer and advocate for Henry VIII  (read Hilary Mantel’s excellent novels) who wielded enormous patronage. He ended up being beheaded for heresy and treason on Tower Hill. I am not suggesting such an ISIS style modern fate for Emmerson but the way this has been done suggests he is acting as a Cromwell type figure to Lady Goddard and Theresa May. His solutions may not be the right ones and one would not want  the inquiry to be not trusted as a result.

The other inquiries have  one public aim – putting the families involved first. The parallel aim for the Goddard Inquiry should be to put the survivors at the centre of its work. At the moment it is looking like that it is putting lawyers first – and  if lawyers are not careful, they will seen  by survivors ( if they have not already said so) as exploiting survivors for their own personal careers.,

23 thoughts on “Putting Lawyers First: Will the Child Sex Abuse Inquiry really benefit survivors?

    • She hasn’t. He is not the story. Once the 8 members of the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP) are announce next week, the vitriol will be directed at them, and Emmerson will be able to sit quietly in his counting house, totting up his fees!

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  1. So many opinions – so many so called experts giving their views about how this inquiry is not capable of delivering justice for the millions of children who have had their lives blighted. But where were all these so called experts fifteen years ago when I and others set up the survivor support groups to help victims? People like Andrew Lavery and Ian McFadyen, who have done more than most to undermine the efforts of survivors groups, while claiming to be survivors themselves. These creatures of the night have fed the media with lies and bile, which lazy journalists have published, only to have their incompetence corrected in subsequent editions – Sunday Times and Guardian for example. But still these maggots cast their spells and soil the truth. But wait, could there be a bigger conspiracy at work here? What if the dark forces working to undermine survivors and the Goddard Inquiry, while pretending to be survivors of great injustice (and therefore surely qualify for lots of compensation?) are found to be working with powerful people who are themselves persons of interest in child abuse investigations? Oh my – how that would look?

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    • Sorry, graham. I know my questions seem trivial against your comment, but at the time of submitting it, I hadn’t seen yours. Keep up your collective efforts, and your spirits.

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      • You are right – comparing them to maggots is probably unfair to maggots. However, if you knew what these individuals were doing to hurt other vulnerable survivors, you would find the term very appropriate. Destroying the hopes and dreams of other victims and survivors in order to gain publicly and advantage for their own agendas is such an unforgivable act that it’s difficult to find a nomenclature that accurately describes them. However, while they take around in the dark world of cyberspace and social media, spreading their lies and poison agendas, some of us are working hard to get justice for the many who have no voice. Maggots eventually turn into flies, which can are still a nuisance, but they can at least be swotted.

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  2. As a taxpayer I feel far too much money has already been spent on this long running saga, disgusted Tunbridge Wells. Maybe this is the game plan, I think Hillsborough carried weight because it was not made up of establishment figures and lawyers. This enquiry was almost doomed from day one. Unfortunately for the British establishment, they do not control the Internet, and a enquiry whose findings are nothing short of a whitewash, will end up with a trial by internet. This could be fuelled by the deaths of some whose names have been mentioned in relation to these matters, and the press will provide further disclosures as the law of libel/censorship will no longer apply as in the case of James Saville.
    In the end this inquiry could weaken the English Legal system, as it will clearly demonstrate that there is a law for the well heeled and powerful and another for the rest of us. Does anyone remember how skilfully George Carman QC destroyed the prosecution case, how many reading this could employ a QC or have influential friends. There is no equality in the legal system and few if any of the powerful have ever faced a trial and unfortunately they are unlikely to do so in my lifetime or even my grandchildren’s lifetime.

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  3. The Survivors and those closest to them are justifiably angry – in my mind this is similar to the argument used about so called celebrities leading on protests like the people’s assembly; at the end of the day those that are ‘victims’ (hate the word but can think of no other) have the REAL experience muted if not deleted. Governments will NEVER let the people Talk & be Heard for fear of the righteous fury it would create.

    Thank for pursuing this xx

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  4. Graham Wilmer sounds bitter and peeved. He’s a very questionable character himself. His son and him seem addicted and obsessed with some sort of software that shows who tweets who. I believe they indicated a David Rose story from 1992 calling me a rapist is a true account. See how mad some on this issue can be?

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    • Bitter and peeved, yes that’s certainly a description I recognise about myself. Bitter that my abuser, Hugh Madley is still a free man, and peeved that the MPS screwed up my trial, by not doing their job properly, or as the trial judge said: “they broke the law”. Now, if your comment is aimed at describing my work to bring child rapists, and anyone who is associated with them, to account, well you will need to find a more powerful description!

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    • And another thing. You say I am a ‘questionable character’. Indeed I am, and proud of it! When people say nice things about you, that’s good. When people say not so nice things about you, that’s good too. It’s when they say nothing about you at all, that’s not good. I know what people have said about me, including you, of course, because it’s all freely available in cyberspace. But what they have said about you is not so easy to find. Now why might that be? Perhaps it’s because no one says anything about you.

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      • Oh if only that was the case. Your cohorts have seen to it that even my not so private parts are/is/was available for those cyber freaks who choose to share it among themselves. The same cyber freaks -your newly found supporters- made sure my wife’s business came under more scrutiny than an Muslim wearing a rucksack trying to enter the USA. Tax man and local authority scrutinised our living expenses, Attempts to “hack” her internet site, homophobic insults aimed at my 19yr old son, slurs on my daughters reputation, labelling my 10yr old son an abuse victim because he’s mine. All the above is freely available in cyber space. But you’d know that already. I know you and your son have spent more time reading false and utterly disgusting media lies about me. You’ve shared them too. Its all there in cyberspace.

        Your pathetic taunts about me being a child rapist have shown the world what type of character you are both made of. Not event the decency to e-mail me about anything you’ve ranted about in public. Get a grip man. My life is there….on Google….for all to see. Your assertions –

        “But what they have said about you is not so easy to find. Now why might that be? Perhaps it’s because no one says anything about you.”-

        have offered the reader an insight into you lack of research and lack of decorum on this issue. I’ve avoided men like you a good number of times. You’re nothing to me. I’ve given you more time than deserve. The lights fading as far as any lantern is concerned.

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  5. Darren Laverty is the author of realtrolexposure and behind the campaign of harrasment of survivors with the retweet support of Ian Mcfadyen. Their intimidation of survivors and hate campaigns through sock accounts on twitter and crude WordPress / blogger sites – all have been a pathetic attempt to smear, harass and intimidate survivors and witnesses on behalf of dark powers. Lavery has over three years form of this style of online harassment. Their agenda has been exposed by the good people of twitter and when the light falls into these dark shadows of social media – maggots like this vanish. Their website blogs now target Esther and the people’s tribunal who Mcfadyen, Laverty and Lavery turned on just yesterday. Targeting Chris for his comments supporting Exaro. The crude use of photoshopped, screen grabbing and semantics leaves an identifiable digital signature. We demand zero tolerance towards these few bullies.

    Interestingly enough Ian Mcfadyen, Andi Lavery and Darren Laverty have all started to spread rumours and question Exaro news in the past week. They also tweet and retweet that David Hencke is a member of Mi5 and part of cover up. Spreading vile insults about Exaro, its staff and its operations. Now I wonder why that is. Dark forces are not happy with Exaro, are they. There is a conspiracy at play to pervert the course of justice on social media. And these three individuals are the heart of it. Well no more. The internet reflects you as do all surveyor groups you have intimidated, insulted and bullied.

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    • As a Survivor it matters not who is who,what does matter is that Survivors
      are supported individually and that as that Inquiry’s run they continue to suffer,what I want is Law that makes Pedphillia a crime that warrants death penalty,that means no more victims by deceased Predators.
      I also with many others feel all the money wasted on Inquiry’s should
      be used to compensate Survivors,we know truth,we are the proof,we don’t need to wait 5/6 years to be told.
      People are dying including myself and yet we cannot get financial assistance as Interim Payment. We are the UK we have lost the Great in Britain.
      I do not understand why Survivors are being treated so poorly but then again its the people in power who caused the abuse,fail to accept the Truth
      leads to more cover ups and dishonesty.
      Meantime Survivors Unite and Stop the Fight.

      It is scandalous I even need to write this!! Sad.

      James McDermott.

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  6. Darren Laverty is the author of realtrolexposure and behind the campaign of harrassment of survivors with the retweet support of Ian Mcfadyen. Their intimidation of survivors and hate campaigns through sock accounts on twitter and crude WordPress / blogger sites – all have been a pathetic attempt to smear, harass and intimidate survivors and witnesses on behalf of dark powers. Laverty has form of this style of online harassment. Their agenda has been exposed by the good people of twitter and when the light falls into these dark shadows of social media – maggots like this vanish. Their website blogs now target Esther and the people’s tribunal who Mcfadyen, Laverty and Lavery turned on just yesterday. Targeting Chris for his comments supporting Exaro. The crude use of photoshopped, screen grabbing and semantics leaves an identifiable digital signature. We demand zero tolerance towards these few bullies.

    Interestingly enough Ian Mcfadyen, Andi Lavery and Darren Laverty have all started to spread rumours and question Exaro news in the past week. They also tweet and retweet that David Hencke is a member of Mi5 and part of cover up. Spreading vile insults about Exaro, its staff and its operations. Now I wonder why that is. Dark forces are not happy with Exaro, are they. There is a conspiracy at play to pervert the course of justice on social media. And these three individuals are at the heart of it. Their behaviour is transparent. Well no more. The internet rejects you as do all survivor groups and individuals you have personally intimidated, insulted and bullied and continue to do so.

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  7. Anonymous and lies. Great effort but falls on deaf ears whilst you remain hidden in the depths of the net. Prove your lies. Hidden signatures don’t usually have an ID. Fools

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  10. I want to.point out that Michael mansfield qc was the one who defended Michael Barrymore, and made.damned sure that the rape.and murder at his house went unpunished. I also want to point out that I wrote to Mansfield a few years ago, begging him to help us child abuse victims and whistleblowers, and received a letter back declining, so why the hell people have been clamouring for him to take over the csa investigation God knows, and I did point this out to Exaro news, but got scoffed at as per usual. As for David Rose, he was at that conference with Cameron in 2002, along with a bunch of BFMS paedos, they got police investigations into institutional child abuse stopped and attacked us survivors, they have called us golddiggers and compensation hunters. I have had a rough time recently, Stafford Police have had me sectioned twice in the last six months and I am being denied effective counselling for ptsd.

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  11. I realize that some journalists, news organizations, CSA campaigners, survivor organizations and victim claimants face a serious conundrum. Many documented CSA victims and undocumented claimants have been induced/incited to make allegations that their abuse experiences were filmed or photographed, or that a specific relative or celebrity was among their abusers and that this is documented in CSA images, or that they experienced or witnessed extreme acts of violence that are documented in CSA images – when in fact this is not the case.

    The conundrum arises when such allegations have been incorporated into personal life history narratives, collective social history narratives, or criminal prosecution narratives but the alleged images do not in fact exist. Not because no such images exist – Interpol claimed a catalog of 1 million CSA images in 2005 – but because specific images that a particular person has alleged, do not exist.

    I understand how important these alleged images would be to personal, social or criminal narratives, but it is obscenely disrespectful to falsely claim that historic images of ANOTHER PERSON’S abuse experience are depictions of yourself or your child/relative or someone else that you knew at one time. It is obscenely disrespectful to create a false life story narrative about any historic CSA images, for yourself or any other person, to support your narrative. Some people who ought to know better have been involved in such evil pursuits, including snuff witness claimant “Edward”, the N24 news organization, Werkgroep Morkhoven and child rapist Marcel Vervloessem. Some people who ought to know better have subsequently endorsed these vile thefts of real CSA image victim’s identities or life stories.

    If you genuinely cared about victimized children and adults, you wouldn’t get involved in or support such callous, demeaning and dehumanizing exploitation of someone else’s abuse. When you do get involved in or support such schemes, you demonstrate that YOUR NARRATIVE is all you care about, and your claims to care about victims are a sham.

    You may be assuming that the persons depicted in historic CSA images are all dead now, or that such images and the life stories behind them are somehow “public domain”, so it is ok for you to “borrow” our identities or concoct false narratives for these images of us, but you are wrong.
    The legal precedents for CSA image victim’s rights established through “Amy series” litigation has been a gamechanger. We can sue anyone who possesses, distributes, transmits or publicly displays images of our victimization, or images TAKEN FROM our victimization. That’s right, those “safely cropped” portions of images too. And not for small potatoes. How does $3 million hit ya?
    http://www.newsweek.com/child-porn-victims-go-court-try-make-collectors-pay-226812

    From a moral standpoint, we OWN any CSA images of us, and we OWN the life story that goes with them. Considerable progress is being made in establishing our full legal ownership over both the images and the story behind their existence. THAT is what CSA campaigners should be supporting, and NOT the exploitation of our experience for BS conspiracy theory narratives or fraudulent victim claimant narratives.

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