CROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM
Before we were flooded by news of the sensational Presidential election victory of Donald Trump, Dame Lowell Goddard. the third chair of the troubled inquiry into child sexual abuse inquiry delivered a stunning blow to Parliament.
She refused point blank to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in Parliament and also announced that she would refuse to give any further interviews to the media on why she resigned.
It is no wonder that the new chair of the inquiry, Labour MP Yvette Cooper issued such a strong statement objecting to her refusal.
Dame Lowell had written :
“As a High Court judge in New Zealand for many years before I resigned to take up the chair, I have a duty to maintain judicial independence,” she wrote.
“That is why I have volunteered detailed written reports (in preference to oral communication) so that no dispute on powers or damage to IICSA’s independence could arise.
“I am not aware of any matter which remains unanswered. Meanwhile I have been the subject of malicious defamatory attacks in some UK media.
“I am disappointed that there has been no government defence of me in England, despite the fact that information refuting some of the more serious allegations has been held by the Home Office and your committee since the time of my initial recruitment.”
She got a stiff reply
” Dame Lowell Goddard’s refusal to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee about her resignation from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is disgraceful,” Ms Cooper said.
“Dame Goddard has been paid significant amounts of public money to do an extremely important job which she suddenly resigned from, leaving a series of questions about what has been happening over the last 18 months and why the Inquiry got into difficulties.
“This is an astonishing response from a paid public servant who should know how important transparency is in an inquiry as sensitive and crucial as this one.
“Child abuse survivors have been let down by the extremely rocky start to this inquiry and we do need answers as to why it went wrong in order to be confident it is back on track now.”
I quite agree. She was given a very generous package running into hundreds of thousands of pounds to chair this inquiry . Her annual salary was £360,000. Her accommodation costs amounted to £119,000. Relocation costs were just short of £30,000 as well some £67,000 spent on travel, including trips for her whole family to and from New Zealand.
Yet she doesn’t have the slightest compunction to refuse to explain what went so horribly wrong. She was offered to give evidence by video link from new Zealand but declined because she said Parliamentary privilege would not cover the video link.
Frankly her refusal is an affront to the survivors, the general public, the taxpayer who met her bills and to Parliamentary sovereignty.
If she had been a British judge living in the UK she could have been ordered to attend. As it is she better not apply for a tourist visa to come here or she might find herself having to attend Parliament. I find her attitude arrogant particularly as she never properly explained her reasons for going.
Goddard appears to have been the subject of a smear campaign. She’s clearly unwilling to disclose details in a situation where she could expose herself to further action against herself. While in theory she should consider herself accountable to Parliament by whom she was appointed, and by the HASC as Parliament’s scrutinising body, it’s worth remembering that only a month or so ago Keith Vaz was a member of HSAC and also that the members of Parliament who would be examining Goddard are the same crowd who chose not to object to Vaz’s self-appointment to the Justice Committee. Natural justice and common sense should encourage us not to criticise Goddard too forcefully until we have learned more from other sources about the pressures that led to her departure. However much some people would prefer it, Henriques hasn’t got the whole of the Houses of Parliament off the hook yet.
@ Owen. You are right, Goddard cannot say why she handed in her resignation, ‘with immediate effect’, because of professional reasons, but I believe she found a major cover-up going on at the heart of the Westminster Abuse Inquiry. You cannot build a proper inquiry if the foundations are rotten.
She cannot say why she really left, without giving notice.
I would agree that she received an extremely good package from the British Taxpayer, but at the same time I can well understand her reluctance to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee. Over the years I have watched these committees and have arrived at the conclusion Senator Joseph McCarthy would feel at home amongst them. The most disgusting was a MP who disgustingly tore apart one of the UK’s leading scientists Many of these committees are usually made up of nearly politicians who seem more interested in scoring a political point than carrying out the remit of their role of scrutiny.
Although I do not expect the members to be Puritans, I do expect at least the Home Affairs Committee to provide some moral example to the nation. Unfortunately, this is not often the case.
I would be unwilling like ” Dame Lowell Goddard’ to attend a committee whose real objective is not to scrutinise but to score cheap political points. As for the financial package then the minister or civil servant who signed off this package should be the one before the committee. As for her reason for resigning maybe that may have had more to do with personal reasons than any pressure put on here by ministers, civil servant, internal disputes or the security services or police.
We need to look at the role The IICSA QC played in all this. Some of us who formed the original panel inquiry were never comfortable with the way our QC dictated to us. He was supposed to be our legal advisor, but he took control of every aspect of our work until the HS caved in to the ‘survivor’ mob demands for a statutory, judge-led inquiry. And where did that get us? The inquiry was sabotaged from the start, as The ongoing police investigations will show. Oh, didn’t you know? Operation Midland isn’t the only investigation into child sexual abuse.
My view has always been they should have stuck to an independent panel not a judge led inquiry and then subdivided the work as it became clear what the scale of the inquiry was going to be.
Lowell-Goddard wrote a nine page explanatory letter, fully documenting her reasons for resignation. The fact that neither Parliament nor the media appear to have paid any attention to that letter Is interesting! Yvette Cooper appears to be joining the ranks of those who want to characteri assassinate, whilst conveniently dismissing the evidence! Do something useful for this enquiry Yvette, stop criticising and start looking at the evidence!!! There isn’t a judge in the land that would tolerate the nasty tactics of the HASC, previously under the watch of Vaz; an unconvicted criminal & now being overseen by one who wants to add to the smear campaign of her seedy predecessor! Disgusting behaviour from Labour!
Why would a Judge with integrity want to provide further evidence to a committee previously headed by a seedy, yet to be convicted, criminal? Cooper, it seems, cannot wait to twist a knife whilst conveniently ignoring the evidence! That Cooper stands in judgement of Goddard is laughable? Really? Clearly Cooper’s a Vaz supporter, despite the reality that he is universally hated by the public! A public who would of been criminalised for far less activities than he has engaged in! One law for us and another for parliament eh? How convenient! Lowell-Goddard is not parliament’s whipping girl! Cooper can do something useful by reading the 9 page resignation letter provided! The letter is explanatory, whereas Parliament looks like a vipers nest of back biting, slimy criminals, self importance & delusion! Not winning themselves any favours!
Bit harsh David. LG is frightened because she now knows what we are really up against. Nothing better than finding out for herself.
@ mike Broad. I believe she knows. You must consider that the Secret services are involved in all this, both here and in Australia.
I think LG’s office needs to answer ONE question. Did she have a response to her request to see SS’s files on a former MP?
Q can be asked in a quick email from Jay! No need for a committee! If LG saw the files, they should also be available to Jay, if not, it’s an outstanding action for Jay, if the files have mysteriously disappeared…… Hmmm! Surely that couldn’t happen?
I believe she went to Australia who’s SS did offer to help her.
That’s the problem. My well placed source has said LG was not given any files she requested about the deceased former MP.
As it’s Remembrance weekend lets remember all the personnel who served and did the right thing, especially those at RASC Bulford, and got no thanks from the SIB.
David M said the Security Services are involved. Really. What about the units in the British Army. You only have to look at the sudden death of Dr Paul Morris RASC in 1998 at the Colchester Glasshouse. But then you are aware of that already. Keep digging and exploring David but watch your back, observations and Humint works both ways
@ Insider says. you are right, they do, and are being used both ways.
I know he is not one of surveillance officers. If you think what this brave ex-DC has given to the Star is the sum of the evidence think again. You should see what others are giving.
Channel 5’s crime regulars will be so yesterday.
Anything legal is unlawful