By Srecko Sostar
Inquiry announces new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings
2 May 2019 The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has announced a new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings.
The investigation will be thematic and will review the current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions in England and Wales.
Organisations falling under the remit of this investigation will include non conformist Christian denominations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism. This investigation is separate from our investigations into the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
Religious settings such as mosques, synagogues, churches and temples are in scope. Places of faith tuition such as Muslim madrassahs and Christian Sunday schools and places where children and young people gather in connection with their religious beliefs, including youth groups and camps will also be investigated by the Inquiry.
More than one in 10 survivors of child sexual abuse (11 per cent) who shared their accounts with the Inquiry’s Truth Project reported sexual abuse in a religious institution. Of this group, almost a quarter (24 percent) told the Inquiry they were abused in institutions in scope of this new investigation, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Judaism and Islam. Not all participants provided details about the religious denomination of the institution or perpetrator.
Organisations and individuals are being invited to apply for core participant status. Core participants must have a significant interest in this investigation and have special rights defined by legislation.
A preliminary hearing will take place at 2pm on 23 July 2019 and public hearings will take place in 2020.
via TheWorldNewsOrgWorld News
By Guest Nicole
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left hospital after the arrival of their third child, a boy.
The couple's second son, who was born at 11:01 BST, weighing 8lb 7oz, is fifth in line to the throne.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte had visited their brother at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London.
Leaving the hospital Prince William said the couple were very happy, before holding up three fingers and joking he had "thrice the worry now".
"We didn't keep you waiting too long this time," he added.
When someone asked him whether the couple had decided on a name, he said: "You'll find out soon enough."
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43864933
By Jack Ryan
The video starts in a board room meeting where a group of men are brainstorming experiences which they can share – and one of the pinpoints Â“SallyÂ”. ?
The clip then cuts to a young woman walking around what appears to be a market.
She seeÂ’s women wearing rainbow bracelets, with rainbow posters showing two stick-figure women holding hands.
When she goes to the till sheÂ’s asked if she would like to Â“make a donation to the marathonÂ”, to which Sally says Â“no, thank youÂ”.
She then walks to a separate store and purchases a blanket.
While waiting she sees a number of women wearing the bracelet.
The woman who serves her asks Sally if she would like her rainbow bracelet in the bag or if she would like to wear it now.
Â“No thank you,Â” Sally repeats again.
Â“WhatÂ’s wrong honey?Â” A third woman then questions her. Â“You got something against them?Â”Â
Â“Well no I donÂ’t have anything against them personally,Â” she begins to reply, but she is then cut off.
Â“So whatÂ’s the problem?Â”
Â“I respect that they have a right to choose their lifestyle but as a Bible reader,Â” Sally begins to try and explain.
Â“Excuse me IÂ’m a bible reader too I go to church and our church is one of the biggest supporters for this marathon,Â” the woman replies.
Â“Displaying courage now will help me display courage in the future,Â” a voice tells her.
Â“Well IÂ’m one of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses and we believe the bible teaches sex is for a man and a woman who are married,Â” Sally says.
By Guest Nicole
Plans to build a new place of worship on a storage container site in Ingoldisthorpe have been given the go ahead. West Norfolk Council’s planning committee approved proposals for the new building and car parking spaces at Coaly Lane at a meeting on Monday. The plans, submitted by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, said the new Jehovah’s Witnesses premises would provide a replacement facility for the existing meeting place at Hunstanton Road in Heacham. According to reports submitted to the committee, the building would be located on the western end of the site which has no standing containers at present. Andy Griffin, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said: “They have been searching for a suitable premises to replace their current one for over 12 years. “It is badly in need of renovation with no parking provision, so elderly people find it very difficult to walk there.” The committee was told that the parking arrangements at the current premises are unsuitable, meaning that vehicles are often parked at the side of the road. Mr Griffin said on average there would be 15 cars attending main meetings twice a week, but the plans included 30 spaces to ensure there is an “oversupply”. He said the absence of commercial vehicles would “further improve” the safety of Coaly Lane for pedestrians. Committee member Avril Wright said she disagreed with the suggestion that there is heavy traffic on Coaly Lane. “There is hardly any traffic on that road now – it’s mostly used for dog walking and leisure use,” she said. Relocating the meeting place would also benefit traffic in Heacham, one member claimed. Terry Parish said: “By moving this hall, you would remove the traffic problems on Hunstanton Road.” Members expressed concerns regarding tree species at the site, as well as light pollution. The committee voted to approve the plans, with conditions that the premises only be used between 8am and 10pm, that the trees on the site be protected and that the authority would receive full details of a lighting scheme.
Read more at: https://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/plans-for-new-place-of-worship-in-ingoldisthorpe-given-green-light-1-8371888
By Jack Ryan
He is a current member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Anthony Morris on Ireland Gay Marriage Vote (HD).mp4
By Guest Nicole
Children who were sexually abused by Jehovah's Witnesses were allegedly told by the church not to report the crimes.
Victims from across the UK told the BBC they were routinely abused and that the religious organisation's own rules protected perpetrators.
One child abuse lawyer believes there could be thousands of victims across the country who have not come forward because of the "two witness" rule.
A spokesperson for the church said it did not "shield" abusers.
'Bring reproach on Jehovah'
BBC Hereford and Worcester spoke to victims - men and women - from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leicester, Worcestershire and Glasgow, one of whom waived her right to anonymity.
Louise Palmer, who now lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, was born into the organisation along with her brother Richard Davenport, who started raping her when she was four. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse.
The 41-year-old, formerly of Halesowen, West Midlands, said when she told the church of the abuse she was told not to go to police.
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-42025255
By Guest Nicole
Mrs Mortimer was undergoing a hip operation when she refused the blood transfusion
A Jehovah's Witness lost her life after she refused a blood transfusion during a major hip operation due to her religious beliefs.
Barbara Mortimer, 69, went against doctors' advice and sadly died on May 24, 2017, shortly after a hip replacement.
A final hearing was held at The Old Courthouse in Hatfield yesterday (Wednesday, October 18) before Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan.
The court heard that in January of this year, Mrs Mortimer visited her GP Mark Penwell with "severe left hip pain."
Doctor Penwell said: "She was struggling to walk with it, even using a stick.
"The only useful intervention was a hip replacement."
He admitted however, that he had concerns about Mrs Mortimer, of Portland Road, Bishop's Stortford, who would decline any blood products due to her being a Jehovah's Witness.
Mrs Mortimer also suffered what was thought to be a heart attack in 2006 and acute coronary syndrome after having chest pain in 2010.
For her hip, Mrs Mortimer was referred to consultant orthopaedic surgeon Rajeev Sharma.
He said: "She came to see me in the clinic on Thursday, March 23.
"She came in with a diagnosis of hip arthritis on one of the sides.
"She had an X-ray that showed the joints were worn out."
Risks associated with the procedure including displacing the hip, heart attack and most commonly infection, were discussed with Mrs Mortimer.
Mrs Mortimer chose to ungergo surgery, but was taking aspirin at the time which thins the blood. There was also a risk that she would need a blood transfusion during the operation.
Steps included administering tranexamic acid, swabs soaked in adrenalin and a spinal aesthetic as opposed to general, as these all help to prevent and restrict blood loss.
Mr Sharma said: "We needed to be sure our surgery is in such a manner to prevent bleeding.
"It was safe to proceed providing we take all the necessary precautions."
The procedure went ahead with Mrs Mortimer's haemoglobin levels being within an acceptable range.
But during the operation after the joint was dislocated, the living part of the bone began to bleed.
The bleed then became "exponentially massive," according to Mr Sharma following the removal of hard cartilage.
The adrenalin swabs, an alternative method to stopping the bleed due to Mrs Mortimer's belief's, were inserted to constrict the blood vessels as well as a plastic membrane.
Mr Sharma said: "We continued with the procedure, it was the best way to stop the bleeding.
"I could not think why such a lot of bleeding would take place.
"Was it the aspirin? Would it have had a significant effect on her or was there an anomaly in the pelvic bone?"
Following the surgery, Mr Sharma spoke with Mrs Mortimer's family.
"The recommended blood products were declined," he said.
"We were struggling to keep her alive if we can't give her any blood. Persistent refusal was risking her life."
Mrs Mortimer faced the decision of accepting blood products or hope that the fluids given to her post-operation would stimulate cell production after such a huge blood loss.
She died during the early hours of the morning at Rivers Hospital in Sawbridgeworth.
Mr Sharma was challenged in court by Counsel Kate Smith, who asked whether further enquiries should have been made prior to the hip replacement due to her age, religious beliefs, medical history and the fact she was taking aspirin.
Ms Smith presented a booklet in court regarding Jehovah's Witnesses and surgery.
It said "should avoid any medication that could increase blood loss," referring to aspirin which thins the blood and makes the likelihood of needing a blood transfusion more likely.
Mrs Mortimer signed a refusal form indicating her religious convictions that "no blood transfusions are to be administered in any circumstances".
Mr Sharma said in "hindsight" there are things that would have been done differently but at that stage all the safety precautions had been made.
The operation was also not considered to be life-threatening.
He was also challenged whether Mrs Mortimer needed to be on aspirin. The decision to take this course was made working on the basis that she had suffered a heart attack – later found to be untrue.
Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan, said: "I cannot see a short form conclusion.
"The adequate way to my mind is a narrative verdict to encompass blood loss [from the] surgical procedure and declining of blood products.
"She was admitted to Rivers Hospital, she had advanced decision not to accept blood products, and asked to consider accepting blood products, but declined to do so."
By Guest Nicole
An expected audience of around 3,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of the public are beginning to arrive at the Westpoint Arena for their three day annual Exeter Convention.
This year’s Convention theme is “Don’t Give Up!”
“Challenges in life can rob us of peace and even cause some to think about giving up,” states David A. Semonian, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses at their world headquarters in Warwick, New York. “Our convention this year will benefit both Witnesses and non-Witnesses because it promises to empower individuals not only to keep enduring but also to cope with challenges productively.”
Last weekend 3,800 Witnesses and others from Cornwall and South Devon attended their Convention at Westpoint, this weekend it is the turn of delegates from across Somerset, North, and Mid Devon to enjoy the same uplifting program. It is one of 21 such Conventions across the UK, in total the program will be presented in 24 different languages. Last year over 13 million persons attended the Witnesses Conventions worldwide, more are expected to attend this year.
The program is divided into 52 parts and will be presented in a variety of formats, including brief discourses, interviews, and short videos. Additionally, one segment of a three-part feature film designed to help families will be shown each afternoon. Of special interest will be a discourse especially for the public at 11.20 on Sunday morning entitled “Never Give Up Hope!”, as well as the public Baptism of new believers on Saturday at 11,45 a.m. The program lasts from Friday through to Sunday and begins at 9.20 each morning.
Admission was free and no collections are taken
Watch a video about our conventions and see a complete program schedule at jw.org
By The Librarian
NORTH KENSINGTON, London – Not less than four members of Jehovah’s Witnesses survived the inferno that ravaged the 24 storey Grenfel Tower, London killing at least 79 people.
None of the witnesses died in the inferno, which has led to revolution and evacuation of about 25 other blocks that have failed fire resistant test in London.
The 4 witnesses however lost their apartments and properties in the fire.
“Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community”, the JWs said on their website.Jehovah’s Witnesses are known worldwide for their speed in mitigating the affliction of their neighbours worldwide.See full statement below.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are assisting victims of a catastrophic fire that engulfed the Grenfell Tower, a 24-story apartment building in the North Kensington area of London, in the early morning hours of June 14, 2017. Authorities are reporting that at least 79 people were killed.
Four Witnesses were evacuated from the apartment building, two of which were residents of Grenfell Tower. Fortunately, none of them were injured, although the Witnesses’ apartments were among those completely destroyed in the blaze.
Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community.
By Jack Ryan
In Newcastle town centre. UK.
The Chronicle Live. 15 June 2017.
A council worker will stand trial after he was accused of being drunk at the wheel of his road sweeper in Newcastle city centre.
John Paul Carruthers, who has since resigned from his post at Newcastle City Council, was allegedly over the legal drink-drive limit when he ploughed into a Jehovah’s Witness stand on Northumberland Street near to Haymarket Metro Station.
Prosecuting, James Long told Newcastle Magistrates’ Court: “The allegation is that he was driving a Newcastle City Council road sweeper when he collided first with a Jehovah’s Witness stand next to Haymarket Metro Station. He carried on then a short while later was detained on Ridley Place and was said to be aggressive.
READ MORE: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-council-roadsweeper-drink-drive-13183193
Painful to see strife over temporarily housing Grenfell Tower survivors in a nation full of actual...By TheWorldNewsOrg
via TheWorldNewsOrgWorld News
Grenfell Tower: British Police say 58 people were in the building are missing and are presumed dead,...By TheWorldNewsOrg
via TheWorldNewsOrgWorld News
By Jack Ryan
09:38 Official police statement
Detectives have launched a murder investigation following the suspicious death of a man in Honiton today [6 June].
Police and ambulance crews were called at around 3.40pm after concerns were raised for the welfare of the man at a premises in Dowell Street.
On arrival they found the man, who is yet to be identified, deceased at the scene. He had sustained a number of stab wounds.
A 55-year-old man was located nearby and has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He has been taken into custody in Exeter awaiting questioning.
Detectives from the Major Crime Investigation Team have launched an investigation to establish the circumstances of the man’s death.
Officers are appealing for anyone who may have information which may assist with the enquiry to contact them.
A cordon remains in place around the scene while a forensic examination is carried out by scenes of crime officers.
Anyone who may have information about the incident is asked to contact police via email@example.com or by telephoning 101, quoting log 529 of 06/06/17.
Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111 or the charity’s website at www.crimestoppers-org.uk
Read more at http://www.devonlive.com/police-cordon-around-honiton-s-kingdom-hall-of-jehovah-s-witnesses-after-fatal-stabbing/story-30375040-detail/story.html
The question now is.... are either of the two Jehovah's Witnesses?
Terrorist incident at Manchester Arena
Police shutdown central Manchester, early Tuesday morning, after a suspected explosion at the Manchester Arena killed 19 and injured 50.
Suicide Bomber suspected
The incident is thought to have occurred at 22.35 local time (21.35 GMT), at the end of an Ariana Grande concert as 20,000 + attendees were leaving the premises. Emergency vehicles streamed to the arena and helicopters circled above as police urged people to stay clear of the area.
As we all get more details about this event please post news below as a reply
Girl who was abused by her father from a age of 11 sought assistance from Jehovah’s Witnesses only to be molested by one of their eldersBy Guest Nicole
A WOMAN who was molested by her father over 5 years and afterwards by a Jehovah’s Witnesses she asked for assistance has oral out about her ordeal.
Terrified Angie Rodgers, from Ayrshire, was abused weekly by her perverted Jehovah’s Witness father Ian Cousins from a age of 11.
Angie Rodgers was 11 years aged when her father started abusing her
The dauntless teen eventually plucked adult a bravery to disclose in a Jehovah’s Witness elders, who took small action and she was after abused by one of them too, Harry Holt.
Angie, now 36, said: “I incited to a church for assistance and we was abused a second time.
“I was a child and they should have helped, though they incited on me. They make me feel sick.
“I don’t consider I’ll ever get over what happened. I’ve usually schooled to live with it.
“I have nightmares and flashbacks all a time and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.”
Angie’s father was detained for 5 years in 2002 for his crimes, while Holt was usually jailed final year for Angie’s attack along with 7 others he molested.
Now aged 36, Angie, a mother-of-four, has bravely waived her anonymity in a wish her story will assistance other people.
She said: “Dad did it whenever he got a chance, even when we was ill.
Angie Rodgers poses here with others in a Jehovah’s Witness community
“Once, we was throwing adult with gastric influenza when father brought me home a feathery bunny, with a organic white floral dress and bloomers.
“My wordless went to a Kingdom (church) and my father scooped me adult in his arms from a couch, took me to his room and molested me.
“I prayed my wordless would come and save me though she never did. After that he used to try to hold me whenever we were alone. It got worse and worse.
“We went to a Jehovah gathering when we was about 14 and he attempted to rape me in a tent. He was usually interrupted when an elder shouted him from outside.”
At a age of 15 Angie confided in a friend, whose father led a opposite church, in a wish that they would be means to stop a abuse.
While her father Cousins was called in for a “judicial meeting” no movement was taken, as Jehovah’s Witness elders can't act opposite suspects unless “there is a admission or dual convincing witnesses”.
Angie was afterwards subjected to an talk by 3 masculine elders including Holt, where she was done to plead insinuate sum of a abuse.
She explained: “They even asked what I’d been wearing, as if it was my fault. It was excruciating. we was so genuine we was still personification with toys and Lego during 18.”
As Cousins showed plea for his sins he was authorised behind into a church after being reprimanded – and a abuse stopped.
A brief while after in 1997, Holt done a pierce on Angie when pushing her home following a event door-knocking for members.
She said: “On a approach home in a automobile he grabbed my leg and felt his approach adult towards my underwear.”
Shocked, a immature lady told her relatives about a occurrence and a explanation led to Holt journey to Edinburgh.
It was suggested in justice final year that he went on to abuse some-more children.
Angie motionless to make a censure to a military about her father when she found out he had also abused another dual girls.
She also incited her behind on a Jehovah’s Witnesses during 19 in a wish of starting fresh.
The sacrament is pronounced to inspire members to reject people who leave, and Angie claimed that she didn’t see her mom for 6 years after she left.
In 2014 a censure was done opposite Holt, and Angie concluded to come brazen and pronounce about her horrific experience.
In Feb 2016, 71-year-old Holt was condemned to three-and-a-half years in jail for a abuse of 8 girls between 1971 and 2004.
Angie said: “If what happened to me helps usually one immature lady – or child – go to a military it will have been value it. What happened to me is horrible though I’m perplexing to pierce on, differently my abusers have won.
“The sacrament is zero though a cult. Children are kept wordless by fears of Holy condemnation and Armageddon if they move a church into ill repute.
“It’s that fear and a fear of being shunned by friends and family if we leave that stops victims from stating to police. It’s primitive and it has to stop.”
When contacted, a Jehovah’s Witnesses wouldn’t criticism on Angie’s box though they did criticism on their position in general.
The matter said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses detest child abuse and perspective it as a iniquitous crime and sin. Safety of a children is of a pinnacle importance.
“Elders do not defense abusers from a authorities. Anyone who commits a impiety of child abuse faces exclusion from a congregation. Any idea Jehovah’s Witnesses cover adult abuse is false.
“We are doing all we can to forestall child abuse and to yield devout comfort to any who have suffered from this terrible impiety and crime.”
The world is finally waking up to the dangers of ignoring the simple Bible command to "abstain from blood" (Acts 15:20).
Major scandal hitting the front pages of the UK press today, with the shadow health secretary calling the misuse of blood in the NHS (National Health Service) a "criminal cover up".
NHS contaminated blood was 'criminal cover-up' - Burnham
A "criminal cover-up on an industrial scale" took place over the use of NHS contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s, former Health Secretary Andy Burnham has claimed.
More than 2,000 deaths have been linked to the scandal in which haemophiliacs and others were infected with hepatitis C and HIV from imported blood products.
Speaking in the Commons, the Labour MP said victims were "guinea pigs".
Health minister Nicola Blackwood resisted calls for a fresh inquiry.
She said thousands of documents had been released by the Department of Health in relation to the scandal, while two reviews had already been carried out.
In 2015, the then Prime Minster David Cameron apologised to thousands of victims of the contaminated blood scandal.
A parliamentary report had found around 7,500 patients were infected by imported blood products - contracting hepatitis C and HIV - the virus that can develop into Aids.
The UK imported supplies of the clotting agent Factor VIII - some of which turned out to be infected. Much of the plasma used to make Factor VIII came from donors like prison inmates in the US, who sold their blood.
More than 2,000 UK patients have since died as a result.
Now Mr Burnham is calling for a public "Hillsborough-style inquiry" - echoing calls already made by the Haemophilia Society and victims' families.
In what was his final speech in the Commons - having announced he will not stand in the upcoming election - the MP for Leigh outlined evidence that he claimed amounted to "deliberate, provable acts of cover-up".
He gave examples of inappropriate treatment given to patients, tests being done on people without their knowledge or consent, and results from such tests being withheld for several years.
He labelled these "criminal acts", and compared campaigning by relatives of infected people to the efforts by families of Liverpool football fans crushed to death in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989.
He said both cases "resulted in appalling negligence from public bodies" and involved "an orchestrated campaign to prevent the truth from being told".
Mr Burnham told the Commons he will take his claims to the police if a new inquiry is not established before Parliament breaks for its summer recess in July.
WATCH: The three brothers killed in a blood scandal Victims of contaminated NHS blood launch legal case Speaking during the adjournment debate, Mr Burnham cited the cases of three victims.
One of those was haemophiliac Ken Bullock, infected with non-A, non-B hepatitis, who died in 1998.
His widow said that in December 1983, her husband's medical notes changed to suggest he was "a clinical alcoholic".
Mr Burnham told MPs this accusation escalated over the next 15 years, with Mr Bullock unaware of the "appalling" claims.
Mr Bullock was possibly refused a liver transplant based on his falsified medical records saying he was an alcoholic, Mr Burnham said.
Factor VIII 'warnings'
The MP later mentioned two documents, including a 1975 letter from Stanford University's medical centre warning the source blood is "100% is from skid row derelicts".
Last year, the UK government launched a consultation on the money available to to those affected by the scandal.
As a result, the government announced that victims in England with stage 1 Hepatitis C would receive £3,500 a year, with the provision to appeal for a higher payment close to the £15,000 received by HIV patients who received toxic blood.
It also announced it will fund payment for the bereaved partner or spouse of individuals infected with Hepatitis C and/or HIV as a result of receiving NHS-supplied blood products.
More on this story
'Blood contamination tore my family apart' 11 April 2017 Contaminated blood: Increased financial support for infected patients 22 December 2016 Awareness campaign to find NHS contaminated blood patients 2 September 2016 Penrose inquiry: David Cameron apologises over infected blood 25 March 2015 Victims of contaminated NHS blood launch legal case 15 January 2015 source
Proponents of “blood management” hope that transfusions will one day be a thing of the past. Medicine Without Blood
By Guest Nicole
Tribunal rejects claim investigation into charity’s handling of sexual abuse allegations amounts to religious discrimination
A Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Manchester has lost a legal attempt to block an investigation into its handling of sexual abuse allegations, after failing to convince a judge that the inquiry amounted to religious discrimination.
Organisations linked to the religion have fought legally to prevent the Charity Commission from launching two inquiries into allegations that survivors of sexual abuse were being forced to face their attackers in so-called judicial committees. The organisation’s efforts have been described by the commission as unprecedented.
The Charity Commission launched a statutory inquiry into the Manchester New Moston congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2014, after reports surfaced that a convicted paedophile, Jonathan Rose, was brought face-to-face with survivors of his abuse in a judicial committee.
After Rose served nine months in prison for child sex offences, the New Moston congregation held a meeting attended by senior members, Rose and three of his victims – now adults – to see if he would be “disfellowshipped”, or expelled from of the congregation, the judgment notes. This would have involved “the elders of the charity (its trustees) and Mr Rose interviewing his victims, in an apparently intrusive way”.
This raised serious concerns at the Charity Commission, which oversees whether charity trustees are meeting their safeguarding responsibilities.
The commission also launched a statutory inquiry into safeguarding the UK’s main Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible Tract Society of Great Britain (WTBTS), which oversees the UK’s 1,500 congregations and is believed to play a key role in deciding how claims of abuse are handled.
WTBTS launched litigation including an attempt to challenge in the supreme court the commission’s decision to start an investigation. The charity also fought in the lower courts against production orders that would oblige it to give the commission access to records showing how it handled the allegations, although in January it dropped its opposition to these requests.
The Manchester New Moston congregation launched appeals at the first-tier tribunal challenging the Charity Commission’s decision to open a formal inquiry, arguing among other things that the investigation interfered with the congregation’s human rights, and that the decision to launch the inquiry amounted to religious discrimination. The charity alleged the commission had investigated safeguarding concerns at other charities without launching a full statutory inquiry.
When the first appeal was dismissed, the congregation appealed to the upper tribunal. This was rejected on Tuesday at the upper tribunal of the tax and chancery division at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Mrs Justice Asplin ruled the lower tribunal had been “entitled to decide that there was no direct discrimination on the grounds of religion, the inquiry having been opened on the basis of unusual and distinctive factual reasons ... and that there were no other comparable cases from which to infer discrimination on the grounds of religious beliefs.”
The Charity Commission’s head of litigation, Chris Willis Pickup, said: “We regret that public and charity funds have been used on this protracted litigation, but we will continue to defend robustly our legitimate role in investigating serious concerns about charities.
“We hope and expect that this judgment concludes the litigation on this matter and allows us, and the charity, to focus our efforts on concluding the Commission’s inquiry.”
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