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Dean’s complaint of bullying by Bishop of Llandaff to be heard at tribunal

01 April 2022

Church in Wales

The Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd June Osborne

The Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd June Osborne

TWO years after he went on sick leave with work-related clinical depression, the Dean of Llandaff, the Very Revd Gerwyn Capon, has secured a Disciplinary Tribunal to hear his complaint of bullying by the Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd June Osborne.

A preliminary hearing found that the Bishop had a case to answer (News, 26 November 2021). A Provincial Tribunal in November last year wholly exonerated Dean Capon on charges of mis-spending brought against him and published in the annual accounts by the Chapter, since which time he believes that constant moves have been made against him.

He has turned down offers of a settlement, and remains on sick leave and half-stipend. The matter was brought into further prominence with the resignation of the Revd Vicki Burrows, a Ministry Area Leader who had declared the culture in Llandaff “unsafe”, and publicly called on the Church in Wales to “demonstrate that it regards the safety, health, and well-being of its clergy and people to be of paramount importance” (News, 11 March).

An ad clerum issued by the Bishop last week focused largely on the Christian response to events in Ukraine, but concluded on what the Bishop — who has made no comment throughout on the situation — described as “a regretful note”.

“Most of you will have seen the negative publicity which the diocese has been getting in recent days and I hope you have all been able to hear Matt Batten’s feedback, given at CMD and college days, reporting back on the issues raised in the clergy survey,” she writes.

“Following a pause in the formal process to allow alternative means of resolution to be explored, the grievance brought against me by the Dean, who continues to be off sick, will now be heard at a disciplinary tribunal.

“Whilst I deeply regret these events I do not intend to respond in public, pending the conclusion of this process. I simply ask for your prayers for Gerwyn and myself as we seek to find our way through this painful episode.”

A second formal complaint against Bishop Osborne, brought by Roz Williams, director of education and lifelong learning in the diocese of St Asaph, is understood to have gone to a preliminary inquiry, which concluded that the Bishop had no case to answer.

Mrs Williams has reportedly received a settlement after an announcement by the diocese that she had left her position in February: a story given prominence in the Western Mail this week. The statement from St Asaph warmly praised her “energy, expertise, and commitment” over the 16 years she worked for education in the Church in Wales.

No date for the tribunal has yet been fixed. A spokeswoman for the Church in Wales confirmed on Tuesday that the tribunal panel was currently being appointed by the president, Mark Powell QC. It can have five members, and must include a diocesan or assistant bishop from another diocese.

The Church in Wales has appointed Gavin Foster QC — joint registrar in the diocese of Salisbury, a former Crown Prosecutor, and former domestic chaplain to the Bishop of Winchester, Dr Tim Dakin — as Proctor to bring the case. The tribunal has considerable powers, ranging from absolute or conditional discharge, rebuke, or monition, to deposition from Holy Orders.

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