THE Archbishop of Canterbury has been asked to "take a personal
interest" in the case of the Dean of Jersey, the Very Revd Robert
Key, who was effectively suspended last month by the Bishop of
Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin (
News, 15 March).
The Assistant Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Sir Philip
Bailhache, wrote an open letter to Archbishop Welby on Tuesday of
last week, stating that Dean Key had been treated "unfairly",
causing "great distress" on the island.
Bishop Dakin withdrew his commission from Dean Key on 8 March,
after the publication of a review by Jan Korris, a psychotherapist,
of a safeguarding complaint from a vulnerable adult, identified as
"HG" (the "Korris review"). The review was critical of the Dean's
handling of the complaint, and on 18 March Bishop Dakin announced
that a former Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd John Gladwin, would
lead an inquiry into safeguarding in Jersey (
News, 22 March).
In his open letter, Sir Philip lists "flaws" in the Korris
review. He also writes that, if the Gladwin inquiry is
disciplinary, "it appears to be contrary to the provision of Jersey
law." If it is not disciplinary, "it is unclear how the Dean is to
exonerate himself from the accusations made against him."
The Canons of the Church of England in Jersey set out a
disciplinary procedure for clergy, which is not subject to the
Clergy Discipline Measure in operation in England. Sir Philip
argues that this is the procedure that should be employed.
The suspension of Dean Key has prompted questions in the States
Assembly in Jersey about the powers of the Bishop of Winchester in
relation to the island. On 19 March, the Solicitor General
confirmed that "as a matter of law the Dean today is still the
Dean". This is because the Dean is commissioned by the Bishop, but
appointed by the Queen.
Members of congregations in Jersey have been encouraged to write
to Bishop Dakin and Archbishop Welby to call for the immediate
revocation of the suspension of Dean Key. A template letter,
circulated anonymously, describes the suspension as "heavy-handed",
leaving Christians on the island "disenfranchised".
On Tuesday of last week, Bishop Gladwin gave an "assurance that
the inquiry will be undertaken fairly and independently".
On the same day, it was reported that Dean Key had been signed
off work by his GP because of "work-related stress".