Tag Archives: Martin Sewell

SEPTEMBER 25 2020 – MARTYN PERCY AND CHRIST CHURCH – CHURCH TIMES LETTER [MARTIN SEWELL AND DAVID LAMMING]

Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church Oxford

CHURCH TIMES LETTERS – SEPTEMBER 25 2020

From Messrs David Lamming and Martin Sewell

Sir, — The further attempt by malcontents on the Governing Body at Christ Church, Oxford, to oust the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy from his position as Dean of the college has spectacularly failed, as an investigation by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) found that he acted “entirely appropriately” in respect of four instances when he received confidential information from former students of the college, all competent adults (News, 11 September).

The statement by the lead bishop on safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, does not just report a finding that Dr Percy is “not guilty” of the baseless allegations: it is a positive affirmation that the Dean acted wholly properly.

Accordingly, the college’s announcement on its website, stating that it “will be reviewing the NST’s findings with regard to Christ Church’s safeguarding responsibilities”, is graceless: it ought to celebrate the reassurance that the Dean understands safeguarding practice better than his accusers, who should now consider their own positions on the Governing Body.

But there is also a lesson for the Church. We are the “two supporters” of the Dean who wrote to General Synod members in June stating that the NST was being “used” by the malcontents (effectively as a cat’s paw) to further their vendetta against the Dean, having lost a costly 11-day tribunal hearing in 2019 chaired by a retired High Court judge (News, 19 June).

As we pointed out, “No person, survivor of abuse, or vulnerable adult has made any complaint, ever, against Dean Percy.” The NST announcement on 8 September vindicates our assessment.

While the outcome for the Dean is indeed welcome, there must now be an investigation into the way in which the Church came to be so embroiled. As the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, has commented (on the Thinking Anglicans blog), “a full interrogation of how the NST became the patsy of the CC Oxford dons/plotters and into the procedures the NST employ must now take place.”

On 14 August, you reported the letter sent to the Charity Commission by many survivors, lawyers, academics, and Synod members, urging the Commission to intervene in the light of the Archbishops’ Council’s failure to call to account those with operational responsibility for the Church’s safeguarding practice. That letter was acknowledged on 11 September, a senior specialist case manager noting the “serious concerns” that the letter raises.

The Archbishops’ Council should now state how it intends to respond.

DAVID LAMMING
Boxford

MARTIN SEWELL
Gravesend


(General Synod members)

SEPTEMBER 8 2020 – “CHURCH CLEARS OXFORD COLLEGE DEAN AFTER ‘BLACK OPS’ CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT HIM” – THE GUARDIAN

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy – Dean of Christ Church

on Tuesday, 8 September 2020 at 10.57 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of EnglandSafeguarding

DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH CLEARED OF ALL ALLEGATIONS‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

Dean of Christ Church cleared of all safeguarding accusations

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Church of England has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford:

Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “An independent investigation into allegations that the Dean, Martyn Percy, failed to fulfil his safeguarding responsibilities has concluded the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The National Safeguarding Team, NST, followed the House of Bishops guidance when the four separate allegations were referred earlier in the year relating to the Dean, a senior office holder. At no point was there any allegation or evidence that the Dean presented a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult.

I am aware this has been a very difficult time for all parties, particularly Martyn and his family, and I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation. There will of course be lessons to learn about the processes, as there are with any safeguarding case, and that is an essential part of our guidance to make the Church a safer place for all. We welcome the Dean’s commitment to taking part in this. Now the investigation has concluded and the Dean has been exonerated of these safeguarding allegations, the NST’s involvement has come to an end. I continue to pray for his ministry and the life of the Cathedral and its mission in the diocese and wider Church.

As I have said before, the NST has no view about, and is not involved in, the wider issues relating to the College and the Dean at Christ Church, Oxford and this remains the case.

The Diocese of Oxford has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy
Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford
8 September 2020

In March this year it was alleged that the Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy, a senior member of the clergy and Dean of Christ Church Oxford, had not fulfilled his safeguarding responsibilities. The National Safeguarding Team (NST) duly appointed an independent safeguarding person, who was asked to investigate and report back. The report has concluded that the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The Bishop of Oxford has issued the following statement:

“I welcome the news that the investigation by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has concluded and that Martyn is exonerated. The investigation process was not without pain, and could have been concluded more quickly, but it is entirely right that allegations against clergy and church officers are properly investigated when they are made. This investigation brings full closure to the matter put before the NST, though these continue to be testing times for all at Christ Church. My prayers remain with Martyn and Emma, the Chapter and wider College at the start of this new academic year.”

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

The Church Times has published this news report: Dean Percy exonerated over safeguarding charges. This rehearses a good deal of the background.

Update 1:
Christ Church has now issued this: Statement from Christ Church on Church of England Safeguarding Investigation.

8 September 2020

“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has announced the outcome of its independent investigation into the handling of four disclosures to the Dean of Christ Church, made by survivors of sexual assault. The NST has now informed Christ Church that its report concludes there has been no breach of the Church of England’s protocols.

“Safeguarding is of the utmost importance at Christ Church, and it is our obligation to report such concerns appropriately. After a query from a national newspaper regarding a serious sexual assault, an independent QC advised that a referral should be made to the Church of England as the handling of such disclosures fell within its jurisdiction. It is vital that everyone has the confidence to report safeguarding concerns. We will be reviewing the NST’s findings with regard to Christ Church’s safeguarding responsibilities.

“Our thoughts are with all survivors of abuse. If anyone affected by this news requires support, they should contact the police or the relevant safeguarding authority.

Update 2
Martin Sewell
 has written at Archbishop CranmerChurch of England clears Martyn Percy of all safeguarding allegations.

“Lest anyone urge us to swiftly move on, suggesting that a good outcome is sufficient closure, let us remind ourselves that a man and his family have been put through the most awful experience by powerful, well-resourced bullies using other people’s money to pursue their own grievances and protect their own vanities. That they failed is good, but both the University of Oxford and the Church of England have a moral duty to look carefully into how this happened, and to ensure it cannot not happen again” ~ Martin Sewell

Harriet Sherwood writes in the GuardianChurch clears Oxford college dean after ‘black ops campaign to discredit him’.
Headline later changed to Church clears Oxford college dean over alleged safeguarding failures.

Tim Wyatt at Religion Media Centre has Oxford dean cleared by abuse investigation and Christ Church Oxford timeline.

Update 3
The Times Dean of Christ Church Oxford cleared of safeguarding failures

Telegraph Oxford University dean finally exonerated after safeguarding dispute

Daily Mail Dean of Oxford’s Christ Church college is cleared of all safeguarding allegations in abuse row

Cherwell Christ Church dean exonerated after safeguarding allegations Subscribe 

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3000{}[+]30 COMMENTSOldest 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago

Next stop: full exoneration for Bishop George Bell? 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Just imagine Archbishop Welby now saying there is still a “significant cloud” over Martyn Percy?!

If you can imagine it, then perhaps you can better understand how the Bishop Bell advocates feel. 

John Wallace

John Wallace 1 day ago

Really great news and an answer to the prayers of many. I do hope and pray that his accusers will consider their positions as well as make a full public apology. Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago Reply to  John Wallace

The signs aren’t promising when the public statement concludes “If anyone affected by this news requires support, they should contact the police or the relevant safeguarding authority.” (My italics.) Reply

Sam Norton

Sam Norton 1 day ago

That Christ Church statement reads like it was written by someone chewing on a wasp.

Mark Beach

Mark Beach 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Norton

Thank you, my thoughts entirely, but put in a very much more poetic way. Its hardly a ringing endorsement….

Can one hope for new beginnings at Christ Church? Reply

Toby Forward

Toby Forward 1 day ago

Mealy-mouthed and mendacious statement by Christ Church. There now needs to be some form of reform of the governing body. Reply

David Lamming

David Lamming 1 day ago Reply to  Toby Forward

A number of questions need to be answered by Christ Church: (i) who was responsible for and/or authorised the above statement on the College website? (ii) will the remainder of the Governing Body now disown the censors who made the wholly misconceived complaint about the Dean to the NST? (iii) who was the ‘independent QC’ who advised referral of the matter to the Church of England and will the College publish his/her advice and the instructions setting out the basis on which it was sought? (iv) what has been the cost to the College (legal fees and those of the… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 22 hours ago Reply to  David Lamming

I am baffled by the final sentence of the Christ Church statement quoted above. Who, in these circumstances, would require ‘support’ – for which they are told they should contact the police and ‘relevant’ safeguarding authority? Is this further mischief-making or just incompetence – using a ‘standard’ wording irrespective of the circumstances – I wonder? Reply

Sam Jones

Sam Jones 1 day ago

It is good that Martyn Percy has been cleared, but his position is untenable if the governing body have no confidence in him. Reply

Kate

Kate 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

Isn’t it senior members of the Governing Body who past and potential benefactors will wish to see held to account for the millions of unnecessary expenditure? Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

The position of those in the governing body is untenable – there is no confidence in them.

Froghole

Froghole 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

I think this is right. I am an alumnus of Christ Church, and deplore what has happened. I agree with many of the pro-Percy comments (notably that of Interested Observer). However, the relationship between dean and governing body has become so bitter, so envenomed and so visceral that it is difficult to see how Dr Percy can be an effective leader of the ‘college’. Other heads of house have resigned, and in far milder contexts, when they have lost the confidence of their respective governing bodies. Whilst Dr Percy may be entitled to a feeling of victory, he might lose… Read more » Reply

Fr Gustavo

Fr Gustavo 1 day ago

Perhaps this has been already answered, but, with all that it is going on, would not a Visitation be in order? Reply

Richard

Richard 23 hours ago Reply to  Fr Gustavo

A quote from the Financial Times: (less than 30 words, so permissible according to their copyright rules)

“In another unfortunate piece of heritage, the Visitor is the Queen, whom nobody wants to involve.” Reply

Froghole

Froghole 13 hours ago Reply to  Richard

Many thanks. I really don’t think that anyone believes that the sovereign would be involved personally. What is more likely to happen is that the private secretary to the sovereign, or perhaps also (and more probably) the privy council, would be petitioned about a possible formal visitation or the creation of a dispute resolution mechanism (there is also an outside chance that they might act of their own motion after taking ‘soundings’). Then, following receipt of that petition and/or consultations, the sovereign (i.e., the prime minister) would secure appointment of a deputy, who will probably be a retired senior judge.… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 11 hours ago Reply to  Froghole

I don’t know how many times I have dealt with these points on earlier TA threads! The procedure for Visitations is all set out in Statute XXXVI (at pages 37-39 of the Christ Church Statutes), and far too long to repeat here. It provides for both a ‘routine’ Visitation every ten years (at Her Majesty’s option) or by intervention. I’m unsure about the machinery for appointing Her Majesty’s Commissary. A retired senior judge seems a likely appointee. There has always been a direct right of appeal to the Crown, which I quote again below, but for whatever reason it has… Read more » Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 12 hours ago Reply to  Richard

“In another unfortunate piece of heritage, the Visitor is the Queen, whom nobody wants to involve.”

Why not?

Her Majesty is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England!

Dominic Barrington

Dominic Barrington 20 hours ago Reply to  Fr Gustavo

I think you are making a false assumption about the powers of the bishop in relation to this unique (and utterly dysfunctional) cathedral. Reply

Interested Observer

Interested Observer 1 day ago

It isn’t actually Confucius, although often credited to him (or James Bond, either will do): “before setting off on revenge, first dig two graves”. It strikes me that there is no way that this ends well for either Christ Church corporately or for Martin Percy’s persecutors. Even “victory” is hollow (Tacitus actually did write “ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant”), if their definition of “victory” is Martyn Percy’s departure; the resulting employment tribunal looks increasingly difficult and the attempt to use CofE safeguarding as a weapon can only backfire in both the short and long term. The loss of credibility for… Read more » Reply

Pete Broadbent

Pete Broadbent 1 day ago

Martyn Percy cleared of all [trumped up] “charges” This is very good news! But it can’t end there – a full interrogation of how the NST became the patsy of the CC Oxford dons/plotters & into the procedures the NST employ must now take place. Reply

Kate

Kate 1 day ago Reply to  Pete Broadbent

Yes Reply

Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts 1 day ago Reply to  Pete Broadbent

Indeed. Reply

dr.primrose

dr.primrose 1 day ago

There’s an issue of the waste of money for legal proceedings on behalf on the college, which raises the issue of whether the complaints should be required to repay that amount. There’s also an issue of the fees that Percy incurred. I haven’t read anything about that. Is the college liable for those? Reply

Richard

Richard 23 hours ago Reply to  dr.primrose

I recall that previous articles about this have said that Percy is liable. There was a campaign underway to assist him financially. Does anyone know differently? Reply

Kate

Kate 17 hours ago

Does anyone know what standard of proof Core Groups work to? Is it “beyond reasonable doubt”, “balance of probabilities” or something unique to the Church of England? Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 12 hours ago Reply to  Kate

Something unique to the Church of England: faithful belief in its own infallibility. 

Kate

Kate 3 hours ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

That’s something which needs to be fixed. Reply

Bill Broadhead

Bill Broadhead 12 hours ago

“An independent investigation into allegations…” Come on, it was hardly that, was it – and since when has the NST been in any way “independent”? Was the Bishop at Lambeth and Ecclesiastical Insurance in the room? While I share the widespread delight that this aspect of the burden Martyn Percy and those closest to him are carrying, if there had not been a significant challenge to the way the NST Core Group for this complaint was set up, there could have been a catastrophic miscarriage of justice. So, to my mind, nil points for the C of E over this… Read more » Reply

Father Ron Smith

Father Ron Smith 12 hours ago

This is very welcome news- especially to those of us who have witnessed with growing amazement the chutzpah of Dean Martyn Percy’s accusers. One hopes they will do the right thing now and meet all of Martyn’s legal expenses. They should also be responsible for some substantial monetary compensation for what Martyn and his family have suffered during this unfortunate breach of common justice. Reply

AUGUST 18 2020 – “THE NEW SAFEGUARDING BISHOP DEFENDS THE OLD MORALLY AND LEGALLY INDEFENSIBLE BANKRUPT SYSTEM OF ‘CORE GROUPS’ – LIKE A GOOD ECCLESIASTICAL PUPPET-ON-A-STRING”

“THE NEW SAFEGUARDING BISHOP DEFENDS THE OLD MORALLY AND LEGALLY INDEFENSIBLE BANKRUPT SYSTEM OF ‘CORE GROUPS’ – LIKE A GOOD ECCLESIASTICAL PUPPET-ON-A-STRING” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – BELL SOCIETY

 

Lead Safeguarding Bishop to critics: “You don’t understand” – ‘Cranmer’

 

Safeguarding bishop sides with critics of the Church of England’s policy

17 AUGUST 2020

GEOFF CRAWFORD/CHURCH TIMES

The Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, addresses the General Synod in February where he said that “serious money” was needed to fund redress for survivors of clerical abuse

THE lead bishop on safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, has agreed that the C of E’s system needs “root-and-branch change” in order to improve its response to survivors.

Last week, survivors, lawyers, academics, and members of the clergy and General Synod wrote to the chair of the Charity Commission, Baroness Stowell, urging her to intervene to address “the failures of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England to devise a safe, consistent and fair system of redress” for victims and survivors of abuse (News, 14 August).

In his formal response last week, Dr Gibbs, who is the Bishop of Huddersfield and part of the National Safeguarding Team (NST) and Steering Group (NSST), deflected criticism of the NST and its core-groups system, adding that the NST should be trusted and respected.

He later told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday, however: “In one sense, I welcome this letter, because it adds weight to my desire to bring about the kind of root-and-branch change that we all long for: in particular in the way in which we respond to survivors, the way in which we deal with complaints, the way in which we change the culture of the Church.”

The letter to the Charity Commission, which also criticises the “impaired transparency and intermittent accountability” of the NST, calls for a complete reform of safeguarding practice and policy within the C of E. It urges the Church not to wait for the final report of the Anglican investigation by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which is due to be published this autumn (News, 1 May), before acting.

Dr Gibbs told the programme: “There is no doubt that, in the past, our systems have failed considerably, and that was made very clear during IICSA. That made very painful listening for all of us involved in the Church and our hearts go out to and our principle focus must be on survivors, and improving the way in which we respond to survivors. . .

“There is still a long way to go. There is journey; but it is a journey to which we are absolutely committed. . . The direction of travel is going to be substantially influenced by the IICSA report when it comes out very shortly. We made clear our commitment to that journey of change especially in the debate at the General Synod back in February” (News, 14 February).

Dr Gibbs also remarked on the research, published in the Church Times last week, by Dr Josephine Anne Stein, who estimated that the Church spends between £20 and £25 million on safeguarding, but that just £55,000 of this went to survivors in the form of redress (News, 14 August).

“I welcome that piece of research; it is a great piece of work. . . The Church’s expenditure on safeguarding work has expanded very substantially in recent years and that is really important because that is part of making sure that we do begin to respond much better to all of these safeguarding concerns.”

He agreed that the money was not directly benefiting survivors, but “that is the commitment we made in February.” A staff member was being appointed “very soon” to begin advancing redress, he said.

“Even in advance of that work, I have written to the Archbishops and the heads of the Church Commissioners to say I want to set up an interim scheme that enables us to respond much sooner than the time it will take to put the full scheme in place. So, absolutely, not nearly enough has been done here on redress, and redress is not just about compensation, it is about helping people rebuild their lives, and that is underway. So, I welcome that; as far as I am concerned it is weight to help push forward.”

Dr Gibbs maintained, however, that he did not support all of the letter’s criticisms. “I recognise what lies behind the letter: its deep frustration with the Church’s failures, in particular to address the needs of survivors. [But] no, I don’t agree with the specifics of the criticisms there, and implications about a lack of integrity on the part of some of my colleagues. I think those are simply unfortunate.”

One of the signatories of the letter, Lord Carlile, who wrote the independent review into allegations against a former Bishop of Chichester, the late George Bell (News, 22 December 2017), said earlier in the programme: “The Church has a very haphazard way of approaching safeguarding cases. There are numerous conflicts of interest that arise; it doesn’t fit into any recognisable jurisdictional structure; neither complainants, nor people complained against are getting a fair hearing. Additionally, the process is far too slow.”

Dr Gibbs said: “Making change in a big institution always takes time; there is always a certain amount of institutional resistance that is just part of being part of large organisation. There is always a danger of thinking someone else is dealing with this issue.” He reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury shared his frustration with the present system.

MORE INFORMATION

“Pressure on Bishop of Huddersfield over lack of action on Church sex abuse” – Yorkshire Live

JULY 21 2020 – “WE SEEM TO BE WITNESSING EVIL AND CORRUPTION ON A GRAND SCALE” – STEPHEN PARSONS – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’

final-corrupt

THINKING ANGLICANS

“We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale” ~ Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’

Some updates on safeguarding matters

Several developments relating to safeguarding in the Church of England.

The Insurance Post reports that Ecclesiastical Insurance had an apologetically-worded statement in its annual report, published not long after its appearance at the IICSA hearings: Briefing: Ecclesiastical’s child abuse claims shame – CEO Hews’ admission too little too late? Scroll down in the article for the full text of the EIO statement.

The Church Times reports: Two members are removed from core group in Percy case, owing to conflict of interest

TWO members of the core group set up to examine accusations of safeguarding breaches by the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy, have been removed after they were deemed to have a conflict of interest in the case, the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has confirmed…
…In May, Private Eye reported that the core group established by the NST of the Church of England earlier this year included two members of the college who had supported complaints against Dean Percy, including the Senior Censor, Professor Geraldine Johnson (News 29 May). The Dean is not represented on the core group, although one of the two college members was reportedly asked to represent him and declined. It is assumed that these are the two members removed from the core group…

The article goes on to report the question asked by Martin Sewell (and answered by the Bishop of Huddersfield) at the General Synod meeting on 11 July about whether, by including complainants in the core group, the Church had “embraced the concept of ‘unconscious bias’”.

Martin Sewell also had a letter in the Church Times last week Anonymity and representation in safeguarding (scroll down)

Sir, — The inauguration of the ministry of the new Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, was a great joy to many in the Church who know his writings and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel. It is a shame that, for reasons outside his control, it occurred under the shadow of the suspicion that he enjoyed the privilege of anonymity while a safeguarding complaint was considered against him, whereas Lord Carey found the fact of his investigation in the hands of the press within three hours of his being notified.
This was wholly unnecessary. Had the recommendations of the C­­­arlile report been accepted and implemented in full, everyone under inquiry would have enjoyed anonymity pending investigation and there would have been a level playing field for both men.
Furthermore, Lord Carlile recommended that the respondent be given representation at the core group table: a recommendation that, had it been implemented, would have avoided the current débâcle over Dean Percy. In his report on Bishop Bell, Lord Carlile wrote: “There was no discussion whatsoever of the need to ensure the justice of the case by examining the facts from Bishop Bell’s standpoint. This issue seems to have been totally abandoned.”
One suspects that this is equally true in the Percy case, but we cannot know, as the Dean is refused access to the minutes.
Finally, the House Bishops Guidelines have not been updated over two years after they accepted the Carlile recommendations — except the one about anonymity –though they have applied that one in favour of someone they wish to advance.
I hope and believe that Archbishop Cottrell has the commitment to justice to drive forward the necessary change, by implementing all review recommendations, from the office to which he has now been called.

Stephen Parsons at Surviving Church has a detailed further analysis of the NST’s Core Groups and the Carlisle recommendations in Revisiting the Carlile Review: A Critique of Church Core Groups? This deserves reading in full, but he concludes thus:

…Can we detect in any way that the Core Group was being ‘managed’ to satisfy the needs of the Church communications department and its desire for good PR?  Were the Archbishop and Bishop of Chichester making statements suggested to them by their highly remunerated reputation managers?  If Carlile’s critical Review is pointing us in this direction, then it follows that similar pressures will also be at work in the 2020 Percy Group.  Are Core Groups, in other words, subject to being managed to suit the purposes of the reputation launderers working for the Church? In the comments I made about Bishop Jonathan’s responses to questions at the recent Synod, I suggested that the management of safeguarding issues was being handed over to a team of lawyers.  Such lawyers would be the ones seeking to defend the Church and protect its good name.  Now, after reading the Carlile report again, I am left wondering whether it is in fact the power of reputation managers and communication departments that we see operating behind the scenes and making the decisions for our Church.  If that is the case, then our Church will not be taking too seriously the cause of transparency, justice and truth.  These and other Christian values like honesty and right dealing may only ever be paraded in public when they can serve the purposes of good PR!

This rereading of the Carlile report and the way that it revealed rampant ‘unconscious bias’, to quote from Martin Sewell’s question at last Synod, allows us to point once again to our ongoing concerns over the Percy Core Group. Conflicts of interest still abound there. Quite apart from the inappropriate placing of two complainants in the Group, there are the collusions we have pointed to before between firms of lawyers, reputation managers and those at Christ Church who have manipulated the Church and the NST to operate in their interests. If the incompetence of the Bell Core Group was a scandal, the sheer apparent malevolence at work in this present Percy Group is one which is driving out all pretensions to ethical behaviour and Christian values. We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale. Will the Church at the national level be able to rescue this situation and allow it to come through this appalling crisis?

 

3 COMMENTS
Martin Hislop
More evidence as to why an Independent Ecclesiastical Ombudsman needs to appointed.
Richard W. Symonds

“We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale”

If that is the case, then we all have a responsibility to act. To do nothing – or not enough – is not an option.

Last edited 3 hours ago by Richard W. Symonds
Adrian

 

An apparent conflict of interest on this scale and nature should be a resigning issue for those who allegedly accepted places without declaring it, and for those who asked them to be on the committee.

JULY 17 2020 – MARTIN SEWELL’S LETTER IN THE CHURCH TIMES

2000px-Logo_of_the_Church_of_England.svg

Church Times Letters – July 17 2020

Anonymity and representation in safeguarding

From Mr Martin Sewell

Sir, — The inauguration of the ministry of the new Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, was a great joy to many in the Church who know his writings and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel. It is a shame that, for reasons outside his control, it occurred under the shadow of the suspicion that he enjoyed the privilege of anonymity while a safeguarding complaint was considered against him, whereas Lord Carey found the fact of his investigation in the hands of the press within three hours of his being notified.   

This was wholly unnecessary. Had the recommendations of the C­­­arlile report been accepted and implemented in full, everyone under inquiry would have enjoyed anonymity pending investigation and there would have been a level playing field for both men.

Furthermore, Lord Carlile recommended that the respondent be given representation at the core group table: a recommendation that, had it been implemented, would have avoided the current débâcle over Dean Percy. In his report on Bishop Bell, Lord Carlile wrote: “There was no discussion whatsoever of the need to ensure the justice of the case by examining the facts from Bishop Bell’s standpoint. This issue seems to have been totally abandoned.”

One suspects that this is equally true in the Percy case, but we cannot know, as the Dean is refused access to the minutes.

Finally, the House Bishops Guidelines have not been updated over two years after they accepted the Carlile recommendations — except the one about anonymity —though they have applied that one in favour of someone they wish to advance.

I hope and believe that Archbishop Cottrell has the commitment to justice to drive forward the necessary change, by implementing all review recommendations, from the office to which he has now been called.

MARTIN SEWELL
General Synod member
Gravesend
Kent

JULY 9 2020 – GENERAL SYNOD 2020 – QUESTIONS – SATURDAY JULY 11

ChurchOfEngGeneralSynodJuly17_large

GENERAL SYNOD 2020 – QUESTIONS – JULY 11

 

General Synod – Questions

The Questions paper for Saturday’s virtual meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod has been published today. This contains the 131 submitted questions and their answers. A total of two hours has been allocated on Saturday for supplementary questions and answers.

Other papers are here.

The meeting will be streamed online here.

COMMENTS
Kate
Kate

 

“While praying in a church building is very important for clergy (and others), it could not be considered an essential practice.” – Archbishop of Canterbury

Words fail me.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops: Q27

“The Church has embraced the concept of “unconscious bias”: will the Secretary General and the NSSP urgently review the composition of the Martyn Percy Core Group and confirm to General Synod members within a month, that having considered the importance of fair and proper process, they can assure us that that Core Group process was free from unconscious bias, and that the Core Group decisions were untainted by it?”

The Bishop of Huddersfield to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops:

“A House of Bishops practice guidance “Responding to, assessing, and managing safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers” (2017) provides that the membership of core groups should not comprise those who may have a conflict of interest or loyalty. We are not able to respond to specific ongoing cases but as a general rule we would accept that as far as is reasonably possible in the circumstances of each case, a core group’s work should be free from bias and we always keep the membership of core groups under review where there is a challenge on the grounds of potential bias” 

Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’:

http://survivingchurch.org/2020/07/06/a-guide-to-the-situation-at-christ-church-oxford/

“The case seems to be full of potential conflicts of interest which make it almost impossible for the Core Group to work with an adequate level of independence. There are just too many personal ties that exist between the Dean’s accusers and the publicity companies and legal firms who have now become involved in the case…….

“The two non-church organisations prominent in the case each have a lot of history and involvement with both Christ Church and the Church of England central structures.  One is the public relations firm, Luther Pendragon. They have already been working for the complainant dons in their earlier case against their Dean in 2018. They also do work for the Church of England and several of the dioceses. Alongside Luther Pendragon is Winckworth Sherwood, a firm of top end London lawyers. They are extensively involved with church work at the national level and also with the Provincial Registrar and the diocese of Oxford.  WS, as we shall now call them, used to be run by the Rev John Rees, who now works for the national Church at a senior level. The letter sent to Martyn telling him that he faced investigation by the NST was written in the name of Melissa Caslake, the director, but it appears to have been drafted by another senior lawyer with connections with WS, Alex McGregor. He is a priest lawyer who used to be chancellor for the Diocese of Oxford. The WS Oxford office was also drawn in to issue the letter from the Bishop of Oxford to George Carey, removing his PTO.

“Given the close personal and professional ties that can be seen to bind all the individuals within these firms with the national church and with members of Christ Church, we would have expected to see a number of recusals from the Core Group. It is surely impossible for members of such a small network to regard themselves as independent in regard to this investigation.  In actual fact, 13 out 14 members of the Percy Core Group are believed to have personal or professional links with WS.  Two of Dean Percy’s accusers sit on the group while no one represents the interests of the Dean himself.  Further, Alex McGregor, the member of the Church’s legal team and who reputedly drafted the letter to Martyn, is an alumnus of Christ Church.  He can be expected to have continuing social and other contact with some of the dons involved in the case. 

“The minutes of the Christ Church Core Group, which met on March 13th 2020, have not yet been released.  The various conflicts of interest that would appear to be in operation, in bringing together such a group, need to be fully explored.  The group that is claiming to seek justice for the Dean needs to explain how they feel able to do this with any degree of integrity while these apparent conflicts of interest are neither acknowledged nor examined.  There is also something less than healthy when committee proceedings are apparently wrapped up in secrecy.  The Carlile report, which scrutinised the processes in the case around Bishop Bell, called for all such Church core groups to carry representation of the interests of the complainants and the accused.  That, clearly, is not happening in this case.  The impression is being given that the whole process is an expensive and dishonourable exercise in trying to wear down the Dean by litigious-type activities.  To their shame, the Church of England has allowed itself to become party to a what appears to be a thoroughly shameful process.  The NST has been manipulated to become part of something so toxic that it may itself be destroyed by this involvement.

“The reputations of two organisations are being severely damaged by this episode.  Christ Church dons have already seen twenty-seven accusations against the Dean rejected by a retired judge.  The repeat of the attacks on the Dean with a completely new set of accusations, while using another legal structure, seems foolish and even reckless.  The reputation of the Christ Church college has been muddied and brought low by this case.  At the same time the status of the Church of England is taking an equally heavy battering.   The Church, with the connivance of its top legal officers has allowed a church legal process to be used in a dispute within a wealthy Oxford college.  It is surprising that the advice of the Church’s own publicity machine and its reputation managers was not there to check this appalling waste of human and financial resources.  At a time of financial anxiety for the parishes and cathedrals of England, congregations are witnessing the expenditure of tens (even hundreds) of thousands of pounds of church money on this case.  This is money that properly belongs to the Church.  Quite apart from the evident flakiness of the case, the Church of England has allowed one of its structures to be used, abused and, arguably, totally discredited in pursuing a case which appears ultimately to be beyond its remit.  Let us hope that General Synod at its meeting in two weeks time will be able to do something to reverse this terrible train crash”.

 

GENERAL SYNOD AND THE QUESTIONS AROUND SAFEGUARDING – Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’

“Before I go on to examine one of the questions in more detail, I should make a general observation about all these safeguarding responses.  In February we heard from a fired-up Bishop Jonathan, who appeared passionate about his new responsibility for safeguarding.  In July this same man puts his name to 13 responses to questions on the topic.  It has to be said these answers to these questions sound like extracts from a dry legal text-book.  Of course, some of the required answers did touch on questions of legal protocol and definition, but not all.  The style of all of these responses is such that I would be very surprised if any of these answers were actually put together by Bishop Jonathan himself.  Every single one appears to have been composed by an anonymous lawyer and Bishop Jonathan is simply the spokesman who delivers these ‘official’ answers.  The human being that spoke with such passion back in February has somehow disappeared.  In his place is a legal functionary who is anonymous and speaks in the way that will best preserve and defend  the Church of England. 

As I have suggested, many of the 13 questions from Synod members did require a legal-type answer.  Safeguarding is, after all, often a matter of putting into practice the correct procedures, particularly as laid down by the House of Bishops in their 2017 guidelines. 

But amid the more formal questions of protocol. I detected a googly.  Martin Sewell, a lay member from Rochester, asked a question which was bound to catch my attention as it related to the Martyn Percy affair, something the Church of England may regret becoming involved in.  Sewell’s question, no 27 is as follows. 

The Church has embraced the concept of “unconscious bias”.  Will the Secretary General and the NSSP urgently review the composition of the Martyn Percy Core Group and confirm to General Synod members within a month, that having considered the importance of fair and proper process, they can assure us that the Core Group was free from unconscious bias, and the Core Group decisions were untainted by it?’ 

The questioner knew that the placing of any group of individuals, well known to each other, with others who have been actively  working to remove the Christi Church Dean for over two years , was operating with a built-in bias right from the start. Someone has likened this action as being like allowing members of the prosecution team to join the jury.  Bias within the group was far from ‘unconscious’.  It has made any objective pursuit of justice for Dean Percy by this group virtually impossible.

Bishop Jonathan or the lawyer speaking through him, chose to ignore the evident gross anomalies of the situation, and declared the following in smooth lawyer-speak.  ‘We are not able to respond to specific ongoing cases but as a general rule we would accept that as far as is reasonably possible in the circumstances of each case , a core group’s work should be free from bias ………’

The answer ascribed to Bishop Jonathan is almost certainly not the answer of the man who had spoken so passionately about safeguarding in February.  The question was one about reflection regarding the issue of unconscious bias, one that is much talked about in this epoch of ‘black lives matter’.  The question was not an easy one to answer and it demanded the exercise of the imagination by whoever tried to respond to it.  The Secretary General and the National Safeguarding Steering Panel were being asked to reflect on what they thought might have been going on within the Core Group for Dean Percy.   The answer that came back had not even allowed the question to be fielded on to William Nye and the NSSP.  It was batted away by a legal functionary working in Church House without apparently any serious attempt to engage with the deeper issues implied in the question.

What are the issues implied by this question?  Surviving Church has also asked the same question in a different way.  How can a Church core group function properly when it contains openly hostile individuals to Dean Percy?  Bishop Jonathan must be completely aware of all the ambiguities of process and law that still bedevil the Percy Core Group and its proper functioning.  The formal answer that is published as a response to Martin Sewell’s question shows no  trace of uncertainty or ambiguity.  The answer neither answers the question nor does it hint at the struggling humanity of the bishop who spoke to Synod so movingly and passionately about the issue of safeguarding in February   Rather we seem, in this answer, to have the words of a legally trained functionary with no pastoral awareness of the issues at stake.  That does not reflect the reality of Bishop Jonathan.  This formal answer seems neither to engage properly with the question nor offer an answer that could be said to be of any obvious value.

I have no means of knowing exactly how questions at Synod are dealt with and responded to.  If my speculation is even partly right, that a Bishop’s reply has been drafted by a lawyer and we are witnessing a terrifying vision.  The Church of England is led, not by bishops or archbishops but civil servants and lawyers who are hidden away in Church House.  The task of General Synod is surely to demand to see the ‘real’ Bishop Jonathan, not the one who is not permitted to answer for himself questions put to him by members of Synod.  In the case of Martin Sewell’s question, the individuals addressed were not reached.  Bishop Jonathan/anonymous Church lawyer deflected the question before it reached its destination.  Is that really how we want the Church to be organised?   Is there an English word to denote an organisation run by lawyers?  Perhaps that is indeed what we now have in England!

COMMENTS

  1. Froghole

    “It has to be said these answers to these questions sound like extracts from a dry legal text-book.”

    It is not just the Bishop of Huddersfield’s responses which are problematic. I am struggling to think of a single answer to a single question by any bishop or other official that is not mechanistic, robotic, evasive or slippery….What we have here is a collection of politicians in fancy dress. They could quite easily be standing at a dispatch box in the House of Commons.

     

 

ONE QUESTION WHICH WILL NOT BE ASKED TOMORROW AT GENERAL SYNOD 2020

Church Times – July 10 2020

From Mr Andrew Graystone

Sir, — Did nobody, at any point during the appointment process for the new Archbishop of York, think to ask him whether there were any past safeguarding failures (News, 3 July) that he ought to disclose?

JULY 5 2020 – “SOMETIMES A DISRUPTIVE CHALLENGE IS THE ONLY RIGHT THING TO DO” ~ MARTIN SEWELL

ChurchOfEngGeneralSynodJuly17_large

CHRIST CHURCH VS MARTYN PERCY

 

Christ Church vs Martyn Percy

Martin Sewell and David Lamming issued a letter to fellow members of the CofE General Synod, which was published by Archbishop Cranmer on 19 June: Martyn Percy: Synod challenges Christ Church abuse of CofE safeguarding process.

Peter Adams, another General Synod member, responded to that letter on reconciliationtalk.org on 28 June: When a safeguarding referral is made no amount of special pleading should change that.

Today, Archbishop Cranmer has published a further article, which contains a very detailed response from Martin Sewell to Peter Adams: Christ Church vs Martyn Percy: a conspiracy of lawyers, divine PR, and the purgatory of CofE Safeguarding. That letter will also be sent to all General Synod members ahead of the online “meeting” planned for next Saturday. As “Archbishop Cranmer” writes:

Members of Synod should read both letters and ask themselves three questions:

1) Am I prepared to publicly defend the Church of England’s conduct in this ?
2) Would I wish myself or someone I care for to be subject to such processes?
3) What exactly am I going to do about this?

TA readers are encouraged to read all these letters in full.

 

Freedom of Information request rejected by James Lawrie at Christ Church

 

Dear Christ Church, Oxford,

a) What is the amount of money spent by Christ Church on the action against the Dean , including legal fees, tribunal costs , expert advice ( legal and otherwise) , Public Relations expenditure, and any other related spend.

b) How was this expenditure authorised?
Please provide minutes of meetings referring to this expenditure.

As House Members we are concerned that our (and others) donations to the college have been mis-spent, and that given the fact that Christ Church has charitable status , this expenditure is in breach of charity commission rules .

Yours faithfully,
Alan Fox
Charles Kingsley-Evans

JUNE 22 2020 – THE MARTIN SEWELL LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH [20/06/2020]

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SIR – The way allegations have been made against the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (Letters, June 19), breaches the Church of England’s guidelines and ignores recommendations of the Carlile Report into the Bishop Bell fiasco.
I hope that Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury whose right to officiate has been revoked (report, June 18), fares better. Abuse victims know that an organisation which puts PR before justice is no friend of theirs.

Martin Sewell
Member of the General Synod
Gravesend, Kent

JUNE 20 2020 – VENDETTA AGAINST THE DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH MARTYN PERCY SPARKS LETTER TO THE GENERAL SYNOD

VENDETTA AGAINST THE DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH MARTYN PERCY SPARKS LETTER TO THE GENERAL SYNOD

 

“This letter is currently being circulated to members of General Synod of the Church of England, in advance of their virtual meeting in July. There will be two Q&A sessions, and it is hoped that this summary of the situation will encourage Synod members to look carefully into the way the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, is being appallingly treated – not only by the Governing Body of the College, but also now by the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England.

“The authors, lawyers Martin Sewell and David Lamming, have worked tirelessly on the chronic mishandling of the Bishop George Bell case, and it is profoundly disappointing to see many of the problems identified by the Carlile Report seemingly replicated in the case now being considered against Prof Martyn Percy”

‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Dear General Synod colleague,

Christ Church, Oxford and the NST

Private Eye recently carried a piece on the reporting of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Martyn Percy to our National Safeguarding Team for alleged safeguarding deficiencies. No child, young person or vulnerable adult has made any allegation of misconduct and the report comes from Christ Church malcontents whose complaints (not about safeguarding) have already been dismissed by the retired High Court Judge, Sir Andrew Smith, employed by the College pursuant to the College’s governing statutes to comprehensively investigate.

The Church is being dragged into a vendetta not of our making and, surprisingly, our officials and advisors seem to have allowed this to happen. This abuse of our processes by well-connected persons raises an important matter of principle. We doubt many internal parish bun fights would be so well received at national level. The issue flags up our institutional deference towards those of privilege.

It is not a currently a transparent process: the only transparency is the motivation. If Dean Percy is criticised by the Church or the Charity Commission it will be pleaded in the defence to the Dean’s Employment Tribunal claim against the Governing Body to defeat or mitigate the damages for the dons’ failed coup. We are being used. This is a route to an objective that can now only be secured by pretending the Dean is unsafe.

It has all the hallmarks of bullying, plain and simple. The Dean, uniquely at Christ Church, has no grievance procedure under the Statutes. This means that he can be attacked with impunity by malcontents and has no defence other than an Employment Tribunal. The Charity Commissioners are now involved. Yet the NST have decided to side with the malcontents at Christ Church, without so much as interviewing the Dean, or even doing a simple fact-check. The strain, and the financial and emotional burden, must be dreadful; but the Dean is resisting injustice, and the abuse survivors who are aware of the circumstances unanimously support him.

Christ Church has no procedure for removing the Dean, either by the dons or the Church, other than by a complex statutory process (and which applies to all dons). Seven dons tried to remove the Dean in 2018-19, and this failed completely with all 27 charges against him dismissed following a costly 11-day hearing. We ought not to allow the dons now to try to use safeguarding as their short cut, and with the complicity of the NST and its processes abused for ancillary purposes. We defer to nobody in our concern for proper safeguarding practice. But this case has nothing to do with safeguarding. The allegations of “safeguarding concerns” now being made to the NST never featured in the complaint of 2018-19. No person, survivor of abuse, or vulnerable adult has made any complaint, ever, against Dean Percy.

Dean Percy is trusted by survivors and was invited to be a contributor to the seminal book Letters to a Broken Church, published in July 2019. When two lone survivors protested the enthronement of the Bishop of Oxford on 30 September 2016 for safeguarding concerns, the entire Church hierarchy ignored them save for Dean Percy, who ensured they had access to a College toilet and brought them coffee and sandwiches.

The NST declined to investigate Jonathan Fletcher as he was not employed by the Church of England but was, rather, vicar of a proprietary chapel. William Nye, in his evidence to IICSA (witness statement 22 December 2017, paras 87-90) states that clergy in institutions such as Christ Church must have “due regard” to C of E standards in safeguarding, but that discipline remains with the independent institution (in the case of Christ Church, as a formal process in accordance with its Statutes). The C of E does not have jurisdiction. However, the NST has decided, with specious reasoning, that jurisdiction nevertheless applies in order to investigate Dean Percy, despite this being an entirely parochial Christ Church matter.

As this is going to be a growing controversy with more information emerging, we are undertaking a detailed analysis which we will share with you in the near future, should it become necessary. We draw on our experience of the George Bell controversy. This case is arguably even worse: lessons have been ignored despite the expensive Carlile Review.

Below are links comprehensively addressing the issues. We hope you will take the trouble to acquaint yourself with the story and find the links helpful in understanding the controversy. There are to be two Q&A sessions at the informal ‘virtual’ General Synod on Saturday 11 July. As you learn of the problems, you may have questions relating to the issues.

Members of clergy might usefully apply the following test: would I have confidence in the NST to handle a case against me in the light of this?

With best wishes,

Martin Sewell
David Lamming

 

Annexures:

May 22 2020 – “NINTH COMMANDMENT CONCERNS ABOUT THE BISHOP OF CHICHESTER” – ANGLICAN LINK

Rt-Revd-Dr-Martin-Warner-main_article_image

Present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Letter to the editor: Ninth commandment concerns about the Bishop of Chichester

Letter to the editor: Ninth commandment concerns about the Bishop of Chichester

Richard Symonds of The Bell Society believes the General Synod of the Church of England and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse should investigate the Bishop of Chichester for being “economic with the truth” in his statements on his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases. He writes:

 

Sir:

The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner makes very clear at the IICSA in March 2018, the Church’s insurance company at the time – presumably Ecclesiastical? – was fully involved in (and I’m sure was fully paid for) the advice to the Church, and presumably its Core Group, regarding Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’:

Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21 – Fiona Scolding QC: “The other matter I want to put to you is [quoting Lord Carlile]: ‘There was no organised or valuable enquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.’ What is your response to that?”

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner: “The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is something of a value judgement, I think, and we certainly didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that which was undertaken through our insurers and their legal representative in whom we had considerable trust and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as a responsible and able person. I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality. It was certainly given proportionality. We understood absolutely that was the case. I think the area which he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was wrong…”

Mr. David Lamming, Church of England’s General Synod Member representing St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich, further comments: ‘Bishop Martin Warner’s answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA [Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse] on 14 March 2018 about the involvement of insurers in the settlement of ‘Carol’s’ claim (see…Richard Symonds’s comment) appears to be at odds with information he provided to me in 2016.’

At General Synod on 8 July 2016 I asked a question about the contribution to the settlement made by the Church Commissioners. The question was answered by the then First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. In the light of his written answer, I asked by way of a supplementary “whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, whether and why they declined to do so?”’

This was Sir Andreas’s response: “You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs, as you probably know, and we make judgments on what costs to bear on a variety of factors. In this case, the answers are really clear in my answer. I do not think I can add to them. There are the damages; there are the claimant’s legal costs and there are the Diocese of Chichester’s costs. We paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I cannot add to that.”’

His answer led to the following exchange with Martin Sewell:

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester): There is a very simple question on the table: did any insurer decline to indemnify?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I have no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.
Mr Martin Sewell: Who would know?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The Diocese of Chichester would know.
Mr Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the Diocese of Chichester, I am afraid.’

In the light of this exchange I e-mailed the Bishop of Chichester on 25 July 2016, asking (inter alia), “Were insurers involved at any stage prior to the settlement with Carol? If so, were they asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, did they decline to do so or to indemnify the Diocese and, if so, why?”’

This was Bishop Martin’s reply in an e-mail on 29 July 2016: “No relevant insurance was held in respect of this claim, so no insurers were involved in the case and no requests were made to any insurer. As Sir Andreas said in his reply to the Synod, the costs and damages were paid by the Commissioners and a private individual who wishes to remain anonymous. The claim was made against me in my corporate capacity.”

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds, The Bell Society

Ifield Village, Crawley-Gatwick, West Sussex RH11 0NN
Email: richardsy5@aol.com