THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has been granted core-participant status at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) after Professor Alexis Jay, who chairs it, ruled that he “may be subject to explicit criticism by the Inquiry in due course”.
Core participants are entitled to legal representation at the Inquiry and to receive advance disclosure of evidence. They may also cross-examine witnesses when the public hearings begin, something that is expected to happen next year.
In his application for core participant status, lawyers for Lord Carey explained that, as a retired office-holder, he was led to be believe that he would be represented at the Inquiry by lawyers for the Archbishops’ Council, which also has core-participant status. “Once the Archbishops’ Council indicated to Lord Carey that there might be some conflict between their interests and those of Lord Carey, he made contact with alternative legal representatives,” Professor Jay said.
In granting core-participant status, Professor Jay said that “Lord Carey was Archbishop of Canterbury at the time when [the former Bishop of Lewes, then of Gloucester] Peter Ball’s sexual abuse came to light in 1992, and when he received a police caution in 1993, and it is stated in Lord Carey’s application that he had a pastoral and disciplinary role in relation to Peter Ball at that time. I also understand that Lord Carey was involved in deciding on Peter Ball’s further officiation within the Church of England after he received that caution.
”The Inquiry will consider the extent to which any failings identified in relation to the diocese of Chichester and Peter Ball are representative of wider failings within the Church of England and/or the Anglican Church in general, and the nature and extent of any failings of institutions to protect children from abuse.
”It is possible that Lord Carey, in his capacity as former Archbishop of Canterbury, may be subject to explicit criticism by the Inquiry in due course. I am therefore satisfied that he should be designated a Core Participant in the Inquiry’s Anglican Church investigation.”
Meanwhile, Professor Jay this week defended the Inquiry and said that she hoped to complete most of its work by 2020.
Professor Jay was appointed chair of the Inquiry in August after the resignation of its third chair, the former New Zealand High Court judge Justice Lowell Goddard (News, 12 August) .
”There has been significant comment and concern expressed about the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry — that they are too broad, that they are impossible to fulfil, and that the Inquiry will be unable to complete its work in less than ten years,” Professor Jay said. “I believe that the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry are necessary and deliverable.”
She went on to explain how she intended to make “meaningful recommendations for change within a reasonable time-frame.”
She continued: “I disagree with those who say we should not consider what happened in the past. This is a necessary part of our work. Lessons have to be learnt from institutional failures and any cover-ups which have come to light, and only in this way can we look to the future with confidence.
On Tuesday, Professor Jay appeared before members of the Home Affairs Select Committee alongside the Inquiry Panel members Ivor Frank and Drusilla Sharpling to answer questions about Justice Goddard’s sudden departure in August. They explained that they raised concerns about Justice Goddard’s “quality of leadership” with Home Office officials and that an external consultant was brought in to “facilitate a discussion” between them.
Mr Frank emphasised that the Inquiry was independent of the Government and Parliament. He told the Select Committee that they had agreed to give evidence to them as “a courtesy” after the change in chairmanship and the sudden departure of its senior lawyers. But he said that the MPs should not expect the panel to be so willing to appear in future.