Britain Appoints New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard to lead UK sex abuse inquiry

February 5, 2015 2:24 pm
has appointed a judge to lead a troubled inquiry
into historic child sex abuse allegations, after the first two nominees
quit following criticism of their establishment links.
High Court
judge has been picked from 150 candidates to chair the
mammoth probe, which includes investigating an alleged political
paedophile ring.
The departure of a second head of the wide-ranging inquiry had been a major embarrassment for the British government. Britain’s Home Secretary has faith in Justice Lowell Goddard to ead inquiry into historic child sex abuse claims….A New Zealand judge has been picked from 150 candidates, after a
“robust” vetting process, to lead a mammoth inquiry into historic child
sex abuse allegations in Britain, including an alleged political
paedophile ring.

Justice Lowell Goddard. Photo / Herald file

Prime
Minister David Cameron announced the probe in July last year following a
string of scandals involving the abuse of children at hospitals and
care homes as well as churches and schools.
Home Secretary
Theresa May, the interior minister, said overnight NZ time there would
be “no stone unturned” in the probe, after she announced Goddard’s
appointment.

“I am now more determined than ever to expose the people
behind these despicable crimes and the people in institutions that knew
about abuse but didn’t act, that failed to help when it was their duty,
sometimes their very purpose, to do so,” she said.
Retired judge
Elizabeth Butler-Sloss quit as inquiry chief less than a week in
following questions about how her brother handled allegations of abuse
by politicians when he was attorney general in the 1980s.
Her replacement, lawyer Fiona Woolf, stepped down in similar circumstances in October following complaints from victims’ groups.
The
concerns revolved around her social ties with Lord Leon Brittan, who
was home secretary when an alleged file containing claims about the
political abuse was submitted to his Home Office interior ministry in
the 1980s.
He denied any wrongdoing relating to the file, which
seems to have resulted in no action and cannot be traced. Brittan died
on January 21.
Goddard previously conducted an inquiry into the police handling of child abuse in New Zealand.
“I
am honoured to be asked to lead this crucial inquiry — and am well
aware of the scale of the undertaking. The inquiry will be long,
challenging and complex,” she said.
“The many, many survivors of
child sexual abuse, committed over decades, deserve a robust and
thorough investigation of the appalling crimes perpetrated upon them,”
she said.

High Court Justice Lowell Goddard will chair the inquiry, which was
announced in July last year by British Prime Minister David Cameron,
following a string of scandals involving the abuse of children at
hospitals and care homes as well as churches and schools.
Justice
Goddard is based at the High Court in Wellington and told the BBC that
coming from New Zealand was an advantage in that she came into the
inquiry with no context or agenda “other than to work hard and get to
the bottom of the allegations and to find answers”. She said the
“robust” vetting process she was put through before being selected to
lead the probe was “absolutely in order”.
Home Secretary Theresa
May said Justice Goddard was “as removed as possible from the
organisations and institutions that might become the focus of the
inquiry”.

The first inquiry chief, retired judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss,
quit after less than a week following questions about how her brother
handled allegations of abuse by politicians when he was attorney general
in the 1980s.
Her replacement, lawyer Fiona Woolf, stepped down in similar circumstances in October following complaints from victims’ groups.
The departure of a second head had been a major embarrassment for the Government.
Ms May said there would be “no stone unturned” in the probe.
“I
am now more determined than ever to expose the people behind these
despicable crimes and the people in institutions that knew about abuse
but didn’t act, that failed to help when it was their duty, sometimes
their very purpose, to do so.”
Justice Goddard previously conducted an inquiry into the police handling of child abuse in New Zealand.
“I
am honoured to be asked to lead this crucial inquiry and am well aware
of the scale of the undertaking. The inquiry will be long, challenging
and complex,” she said.
“The many, many survivors of child sexual
abuse, committed over decades, deserve a robust and thorough
investigation of the appalling crimes perpetrated upon them.”
A graduate of the University of Auckland, Justice Goddard was admitted to the bar in 1975.
According
to website Professionelle, she was the first woman of Maori descent to
be appointed to the High Court bench, in December 1995.
She is a
member of the United Nations’ subcommittee on the prevention of torture
and from 2007 to 2012 she served as chair of the Independent Police
Conduct Authority.

Justice Lowell Goddard

• Justice Lowell Goddard graduated LLB from the University of Auckland in 1974 and was admitted to the bar in 1975.

In 1977 she commenced practice as a barrister and was appointed Queen’s
Counsel in 1988 alongside current Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias.

In 1992 Justice Goddard was appointed Deputy Solicitor-General for New
Zealand and also held the Crown Solicitor’s warrant for Nelson District.
• She was appointed to the High Court bench in December 1995.
• From 2007 to 2012 she served as chairwoman of the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
• Justice Goddard is currently based at the High Court in Wellington.
• She has three stepchildren and one daughter, and is married to Christopher John Hodson QC.
– Source: Courts of New Zealand and Professionelle

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