It was last March that the Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin
’s Dean, Bob Key. It was also last March
that I published my first Blog on the matter. One year on I thought I would
look back at what has or has not happened and what has been achieved.
The Dean was suspended following a review conducted by Ms
Jan Korris into his handling of a complaint made in 2008 against a Church
Warden by a young lady known as HG.
One question that has never been answered is what prompted
Winchester to engage Jan Korris to conduct a review and what did it hope to
achieve particularly as neither HG nor the Church Warden were ever interviewed.
HG was never made aware of the review or received a copy of the report nor asked to comment on it.
The Korris Report contained a number of the recommendations
and also identified a number of failings by the Dean and the Parish Vicar in
the way they dealt with the complaint. The report also recommended that the way
HG in 2010 was arrested, detained in La Moye Prison for two weeks, then removed/deported
in her pyjamas and left destitute at a UK
airport on cold October night should be investigated.
The Korris Report is dated March 2013 yet within a matter of
days of it's publication the Dean was suspended, unreserved apologies given to HG and it was announced that a Visitation would
be conducted by Jo
hn Gladwin the former Bishop
of Chelmsford. Quite dynamic action but thereafter it has been down hill all
the way as those at the helm have struck one rock after another and is now stranded.
In looking back what has been achieved? At some stage it was
unwisely decided that Jo
hn Gladwin would only address
the Constitutional issues and Dame Heather Steel would address the Dean’s
handling of HG’s complaint but no immediate Terms of Reference were published.
However when published they were narrow and unclear. There was also the issue
of Dame Heather's perceived conflict which has never been addressed.
It was soon evident that Winchester
was totally unaware of “the Jersey Way
and that questioning any establishment figure would be seen as an attack on Jersey
It only took a letter from Senator Bailhache to the Archbishop of Canterbury to lift
the Dean’s suspension even before he had been interviewed by the Investigators
so why he was suspended in the first place.
However it should be noted that on being reinstated the Dean
apologised for mistakes made in 2008 and publicly apologised to HG, but not
Last June with HG I met Jo
Gladwin and Christine Daly in London
and some very important promises were made. Meetings would be recorded and
reports to be agreed. Further interviews would be arranged so that HG’s side of
story could be recorded and acted upon. Tangible assistance would be given to
help her and to avoid unnecessary stress all communications would come via me. Also
reference was made of Dame Heather’s perceived conflict. It is now evident that these promises were not forwarded to Winchester or Dame Heather, why?
In early August a full page advert on behalf of the Jersey
Laity appeared in the Jersey Evening Post. It asked members of the public who
had experienced inappropriate or unbecoming behaviour by Bishop Dakin to write
to Dame Heather Steel. The advert clearly placed Dame Heather in both camps but
neither she nor Winchester
steps to refute or clarify the Adverts’ claims.
Dame Heather’s investigation has been a disaster where she not only failed to interview HG or the Church Warden but her report which she
claimed to have completed last October is apparently still incomplete. I
wrote to Dame Heather on seven occasions asking to meet her but somehow my
emails which were also copied in to the Bishop’s Chaplain and Jo
hn Gladwin were ignored until late October when by that time Dame Heather had almost
completed her report.
It was hoped that HG would accompany me to Church House in Westminster
but on learning of her visit, the venue was changed because the powers that be
refused to allow her on the premises. Unfortunately HG did not attend the
meeting but Dame Heather promised that my meeting with her would be recorded and I
would be given a copy of the transcript.
However Dame Heather has reneged on
her promise and has refused to give me a copy. I have made repeated requests to
Bishop Dakin for a copy but although first promising to let me have it he now fails to even respond to my further requests.
In November Bishop Dakin announced that although Dame
Heather had not completed her report no disciplinary action would be taken against
the Dean and the Vicar. He also announced that the Bishop of Dover would now have
oversight over Jersey
and that another review would be
commissioned on the Constitution issue.
We are now into the third week of March but what has been
achieved? It might be easier to ask what has not been achieved. For a starter Jo
Gladwin has not published his report but now that a similar review has been
commissioned his report is irrelevant.
Dame Heather submitted her report at the end of October yet
almost 5 months later we are told that it has not been completed. If that is
the case why has she refused to see HG or arranged for some one else to interview her so that her account of events is recorded? At the States Sitting on 4th
March Deputy Le Fondre via a written question asked the Chief Minister to
provide an update on the likely date for the publication of the Dame Heather
Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst replied “The position has not changed since I made my
statement to the States Assembly in January. I continue to expect that the
Bishop of Winchester will honour the commitment made in the terms of reference
of the investigation by Dame Heather Steel that, upon receipt of the final
report, the Bishop of Winchester will supply a copy to the Bailiff, the Dean
and the Ministry of Justice. Lambeth Palace confirmed in January that the
reports being conducted by Dame Heather Steel and Bishop Gladwin will be
completed in due course. I hope that the Steel report will be completed as soon
as possible in order that our community can be strengthened through
reconciliation and healing based upon integrity and transparency.
I thought the Chief Minister was
being hypercritical because he has commissioned a report on HG’s arrest which
has not been satisfactorily investigated because like Dame Steel, the investigator
Ms Glenys Jo
hnson has not interviewed HG so
her report will be as worthless as Dame Heather’s. Where is the integrity where
is the transparency?
Following my meeting with Dame
Heather I published a Blog on 28th
October 2013 Jersey
Dean--- The truth, the whole truth or nothing but a whitewash?
At its conclusion I said the
is becoming abundantly clear is that the Visitation is a waste of time and
money, the guilty will be found innocent and the innocent condemned. What sort
of message is the Church of England sending out to the poor, needy and
vulnerable members of our society?
by that statement, the Visitation has been a meaningless and financial disaster
as events have overtaken it. John Gladwin’s report is pointless and Dame Heather’s
should be confined to the dustbin. Not only has she failed to conduct her
investigation in a satisfactory manner but her conflict and bias is evident by
her failure to see HG and supply me with a copy of the transcript in which Dame
Heather was less than discreet in her support for the Dean and her condemnation
The promise to assist HG has not been kept and Winchester
decision last November to refer her to the NSPCC without consulting her or me was a disgrace. In his press statement dated 22nd
November the Bishop said he was praying that HG would accept what she had been
offered. He knew full well that his offer was totally unacceptable and has since
been reminded that it is action not prayers that is needed, but alas my advice is
still being ignored.
Over £200k has been spent, no reports have been published, Winchester no longer has oversight for Jersey
, apologies have not
been given personally, promises made have not been kept and HG is still being
ignored. What is interesting is that the Church Warden is certainly still within
the fold and it is strongly rumoured that he is a candidate for the Church
Warden’s position at the Town Church
If that is the case then God really does move in mysterious ways.
I have tried to find the
positives from the past 12 months but to no avail. Perhaps readers may be able to inform me.