On 18 May 2018 I published an article entitled: “Esther Baker case: How the child sex abuse inquiry itself abused survivors’ trust and privacy”.
Mr John Hemming, who is referred to in a determination of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which I quote in my article, has since instigated legal proceedings against me. Mr Hemming alleges that the article is defamatory of him and suggests that certain passages of that article imply that he is guilty of raping Esther Baker. That is not what I intended the article to mean. My article was primarily about a determination of the IICSA which decided that allegations made by Esther Baker would not form part of the ‘Westminster investigation’ of that Inquiry.
I recognise that Mr Hemming has never been charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault of Ms Baker and that the CPS decided in September 2017 that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of any suspect in this case. That was not made clear in my article but I am happy to make this clear now by way of this statement.
In my article I also stated that there was no police investigation into whether Ms Baker perverted the course of justice. Based on a more recent determination of the IICSA dated 19 November 2018, I understand that on 6 November 2018 Staffordshire Police wrote to the IICSA to state that an individual (who I understand to be Mr Hemming) had met with their officers at the end of June 2018 to indicate that he had further information in relation to his complaint that Ms Baker had perverted the course of justice (the police having already decided that no further action would be taken against her). The letter said that Staffordshire Police were “investigating the nature and content of the further information” provided by him and were “not able to comment further as it was an on-going investigation”. These matters took place after the publication of my article.
Mr Hemming and I have reached a settlement in respect of his claim against me, a term of which involves the making of this statement.
For those wanting to see the original article the link is https://davidhencke.com/2018/05/18/esther-baker-case-how-the-child-sex-abuse-inquiry-itself-abused-survivors-trust-and-privacy/