Ben Emerson’s Statement Regarding Justice Lowell Goddard’s Appointment

Press Conference

Ben Emerson QC


Statement: New Chair  For Inquiry

Posted on 4th February 2015
Statement by Ben Emmerson QC, counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse:

“The Home Secretary is extremely fortunate to have secured the services of Justice Lowell Goddard, one of the most respected and experienced judges in the Commonwealth, to act as Chair of the new statutory inquiry that was announced in the House of Commons this afternoon. Justice Goddard has all the key qualities necessary to lead the Inquiry’s work – absolute independence from the executive, a proven track record of holding state and non-state institutions to account, and the forensic skills necessary to digest and analyse vast quantities of evidence. She is a judge with a longstanding commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, both in New Zealand and within the United Nations system. She has the courage, independence and vision required to run a major national investigation into the failure to protect vulnerable children against sexual abuse, which has reportedly taken place on an almost industrial scale in institutional settings in the United Kingdom over many years.

I have personally reviewed the selection and due diligence processes used by the Home Office in the appointment of Justice Goddard. These processes were carried out in unprecedented depth and detail, and meet the highest possible standards of pre-appointment scrutiny. As part of the selection process, the Home Secretary has consulted – personally and through her officials – with victims and survivors, and she has listened carefully to their concerns and priorities in framing these new arrangements.

As a result of this review, the original panel appointed last September has been dissolved and a new panel will in due course be selected by the Home Secretary in consultation with Justice Goddard, following an objective appointment process conducted in accordance with transparent criteria. Despite a number of difficulties, the original panel managed to do some important groundwork in the short time that it was in place. This work will help to inform the decisions that Justice Goddard will now have to make in framing the inquiry’s methodology.

But it is important to stress that this is a completely fresh start. The inquiry that the Home Secretary has announced today will be a statutory inquiry established under the 2005 Inquiries Act. Unlike the previous panel inquiry it will have powers to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence by institutions and individuals. Justice Goddard and her legal advisers will be able to review open and classified sources. This new inquiry will therefore have all the powers it needs to penetrate deeply into the institutions that have failed children in the past, and to identify those institutions that are reportedly continuing to fail children today. And it will do so under the leadership of an exceptionally experienced judge.

This new inquiry will begin its work on a fully professional footing from the outset. Every effort will of course be made to keep the public sufficiently informed about the progress of the inquiry, with as much transparency as possible. However, some of the inquiry’s work will necessarily be conducted under conditions of confidentiality which are essential for the effective investigation of such serious and sensitive allegations.

I am pleased to say that the independent Secretariat, which has been working hard to lay the groundwork for this inquiry, will continue to serve as the Secretariat for the new statutory inquiry. The members of this dedicated team have been recruited from across government departments and beyond. They are committed to the success of this new inquiry and will be answerable to Justice Goddard and the new panel, and to no one else. They are, and will remain, fully independent of Government.

I am also pleased to confirm that I have accepted an invitation from the Home Secretary to act as counsel to the Goddard Inquiry. In this capacity I have already had the opportunity to speak to Justice Goddard personally and to begin discussions with her about the challenges ahead. She will be arriving in the United Kingdom next week for a meeting with Home Affairs Select Committee.

I would like to acknowledge the clear commitment that the Home Secretary has shown throughout this process to the success of this new inquiry. In order to ensure that the arrangements she has now put in place are robust and sustainable she has taken a very close personal interest in the process and has met regularly with a range of stakeholders to canvass their views for herself.

All those involved in this process are committed to confronting the scourge of child sexual abuse in this country, shining a light into the murkier corners of some of our most powerful national institutions.”





Filed under Abuse, News, Politics

16 responses to “Ben Emerson’s Statement Regarding Justice Lowell Goddard’s Appointment

  1. Pingback: Ben Emerson’s Statement Regarding Justice Lowell Goddard’s Appointment | Alternative News Network

  2. artmanjosephgrech

    excellent statement

  3. Read on Lowell Goddard – clearly some cause for concern over handling of ex business partners collusion in perverting the course of justice. As for Ben Emerson I tend to find Sharon’s testimony before Parliament more trustworthy than his. Let’s face it the Home Office only ever wanted to appoint a ‘safe pair of hands’. Otherwise they would have looked at Alexis Jay’s enquiry into Rotherham and they would have appointed her. What’s wrong with Alexis Jay? She’s clearly not as far up the establishment fundament as the Home Office would like

    • Anon

      Beware of lawyers bearing toads.

    • Helen, that should be ‘kiwis’ and not ‘kuwis’. Click on NZ Judge Profiles and scroll down to Goddard. I particularly liked this excerpt: “Lawyers who appear before Justice Lowell Goddard generally have little regard for her as a judge willing to conform to law or to rule consistent with relevant facts. They are far more impressed with her impeccable dress and makeup.

      Justice Goddard scored dead last in the 2014 survey of New Zealand judges, with many lawyers dismissing her competency and hypocritical stances in support of human rights.”.

  4. L Irving

    The documents and interview with the HOAC, shows that Ben Emmerson QC spoke with Fiona W, although he was standing as an advisor to the committee he was reporting back to the Home Secretary and wanted her backing, this leads me to question a Conflict of interest. Ben Emmerson QC was also very close to the Secretariat, from the documents was there a Conflict of Interest.
    Sharon Evans should stay on the panel, there was only two independents on the panel and she was one of them, was she bullied, one can look at the evidence and decide for oneself.

  5. Gary

    What about the victims? What about testimony already given? Why can everyone except the panel stay? Doesn’t this action tie in with every accusation made against Emerson? If you don’t like what the panel are doing, ditch them and get your man to replace them with more ‘suitable’ members. This does not inspire confidence. Looks like a way to, at the very least, slow things down. How long to select a panel (again) and actually get started? Kicked into the long grass of another parliament, when several resignations take effect and can limit political damage. The election and aftermath should be sufficiently distracting that the progress, or lack thereof, may be shifted from public consciousness. An inadvertent side-effect I’m sure…

  6. Michael Taylor

    If the victims are happy with this appointment (which I gather they are) then I’m happy. Well done Theresa May for finally getting it right. Now let’s crack on with a will before any more aging deviants die free.

  7. Anon

    Goddard has said the Inquiry should be completed by 2018.

    That will let a few more geriatric accused shuffle off and avoid ever being brought to account.

  8. Bishop Brightly

    Well it got there in the end.

  9. Tazzdevil

    Inquiry to take till 2018,dont they realise us victims have got to live with the media,and dam politics that goes on in this inquiry,I am a victim ,I am 48 and i have put myself forward for panel but they seem to want people who have become what they have with a brown nose and letters after there name ,victims have letters after there name but do they consider victims for panel.NO and its all private bodies making decisions…… thats were it is going wrong HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

  10. Pingback: Ben Emerson’s Statement Regarding Justice Lowell Goddard’s Appointment | theneedleblog | fighting for the rights of childrens human rights

  11. dogwithabeak

    Well Mr Emmerson is clearly an “asset” to the nation, if you catch my drift…

    • dpack

      very probably but this inquiry is only a small part of the process towards exposing the truth and as the overall brief seems to be to examine the failings of institutions in england and wales there is plenty of scope to take a broader view and treat this inquiry as one thread in a huge tapestry .

      there is also a possibility that there are some in positions of power who see that such tactics as have been used in the past are not only unacceptable on moral grounds but are also unacceptable because they cause too much “noise” if (and they will)become known to the public as they are doing now.
      the strategy of such people will probably be to attempt to manage the flow of truth and divert attention from the most damaging areas rather than to attempt to stop it entirely which would be impossible.

  12. dogwithabeak

    They’ll allowed us to watch Leveson live online and on television, another inquiry involving serious crimes and cover-ups that were were currently under investigation by the poilce.
    Why won’t they allow the nation that same dignity and respect when it comes to letting us see an inquiry into the services, staff, MPs, ministers, police and judiciary that we all pay for?!!

    I can understand that witness anonymity is of utmost importance to some,, That’s why the taxpayer foots the bill for such measures as anonymous video evidence and voice modification

    But other survivors have waited their whole lives since the crimes to tell of their experiences.
    To be truly heard for once.

    Not just by a judge.
    Not just by a limited panel.
    Not relegated to a redacted footnote, one story among thousands condensed into a final report.

    Heard by the nation.
    Listened to by the nation.

    The argument that it would be subjudice doesn’t wash, Leveson serves as precedent for that.
    If it can’t be broadcast live, at the very least let people such as Peter Jukes, the Exaro journalists, anyone from blogger to prime-time news reporter who actually sees the importance of this, to sit in on the sessions and report as and when public interest applies.

    If it;s behind closed doors, it’s NOT transparent.
    Not open.
    Not public.

    And yet the public has paid the price.
    By gosh we’ve paid the price.

    Those who were abused by those in authority number in the thousands, the hundreds of thousands, more.
    Hundreds of thousands of families affected by the actions of those working for the nation, in our name.
    Millions who unwittingly paid for the extravagant lifestyles of molesters, rapists and even murderers.

    Care “experts”.
    Youth workers.
    Childrens home staff.
    Too many professions to list.

    All the people we’re supposed to trust.
    All of them abusing in our name and charging us for the “privilege”
    In it

    And the punchline?!
    We even paid for the cover-up!!
    And the cover-up of the cover-up.
    And so it goes.

    They’d be stupid to think we’ll foot the bill for one last whitewash.
    But I bet they try.
    By gosh, they’ll try.

    After all, if, as Theresa May says, it’s a “once in a lifetime’s chance” to uncover the truth, it’s also the last chance in many successive generations for those with the documents and evidence to keep it all hidden.

    And so it goes.