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.
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 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
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Grenfell Tower: British Police say 58 people were in the building are missing and are presumed dead,...By TheWorldNewsOrg
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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.”
By Guest Nicole
VOLUNTEER construction workers from across the UK have travelled to Peebles to refurbish the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tweed Brae.
Workers from as far north as Alness and from as far south as Plymouth have been working to strip the interior of the building back to bare brick and to remodel the building.
Among the work by the volunteers, new heating and ventilation systems have been installed, plus new windows, internal walls, toilets and utilities have been added, which the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been using since 1978.
Prior to 1978, the building housed the town’s telephone exchange.
The construction work has also created a spacious and foyer leading into the main auditorium.
A range of funds held internationally have been used to finance the project, with the small army of volunteers ranging from various trades; joiners, plasterers, plumbers, tilers, painters, electricians and engineers carried out the work.
Michael Grant, spokesperson for the Peebles congregation told the Peeblesshire News: “We are delighted with the new interior, it is modern and comfortable with a real quality finish. As a congregation, we have really enjoyed accommodating the volunteers who have given their time and skills so willingly.”
Local congregation members clad in high vis and safety equipment became a familiar sight on Tweed Brae, even in the chilliest of winter weather.
Michael added: “A lot of people have been asking about the work as they make their way up and down Tweed Brae, so we are looking forward to being able to invite locals to an open day.”
Tarrant Harbour, one of the construction volunteers said: “It has been a real pleasure to work with the congregation here in Peebles. Everyone has played their part. We set out to create a place of learning and that is what we have achieved”.
The first meeting in the new hall was held on Saturday, March 18 and open days are planned for Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 8 from 10am until 1pm.
Arbroath man who acted aggressively towards his wife sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work
February 22, 2017
Blood transfusions are a common and often lifesaving procedure. However, some groups, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, forbid blood transfusions on religious grounds. Recently, the Royal College of Surgeons issued new guidelines on what to do when a person rejects a transfusion based on religious belief. However, these guidelines need further clarification to make it easier for surgeons to act fully in line with developments in English law when it comes to children.
In recent years, there has been a move away from paternalistic medicine, where the doctor always knows best, and a move towards “shared-decision making” – a process that is enshrined in English law. This means that the patient is informed of all the risks and, together with the doctor, they make an informed decision.
The issue of transfusion refusals is becoming increasingly important because the population of Jehovah’s Witnesses is growing, as well as people who refuse blood transfusions for reasons unrelated to religion. And the guidelines make a good attempt to give direction to surgeons who have to grapple with potentially life-threatening situations involving the refusal of blood transfusions using a patient-focused approach.
Clarity on adults
There is a very clear picture about how surgeons should manage adults who refuse such intervention, and there is further practical advice on how they should comply with legal, ethical and regulatory obligations. If these adults have capacity, then their wishes should be respected. If they do not have capacity, the surgeons must act in the patient’s best interests. In emergency situations, as well as surgeons acting in the patient’s best interests actions must also be in line with any advance decision by the patient – if a document is available detailing their wishes.
Adult refusals will be honoured if sufficient documentation exists – even in emergencies. Shutterstock However, the guidelines are too clear cut in the way they depict the issue of refusals in the case of children. They don’t grapple sufficiently with the developments in the law that have happened since the Gillick case in 1982.
The Gillick case was brought by Victoria Gillick in 1982 in attempt to prevent doctors from giving contraceptive advice and treatment to children under 16-years-old, without informing or receiving consent from their parents. It was eventually dismissed and the judge said that if a child had enough maturity, understanding and intelligence regarding their medical treatment – known as a “standard for capacity” – then they could make decisions on this without parental consent.
While English law deals with the capacity of 16 to 17-year-old children under the Family Law Reform Act 1969, decisions about children under the age of 16 still rely heavily on the Gillick case and its subsequent developments.
However, the standard for determining capacity has changed since Gillick and it is now pitched at a higher level – which is more difficult for children to reach because it can include, in some instances, a requirement to demonstrate an ability to understand the implications of the consequences of refusing treatment. This can become an almost unattainable standard. Additionally, case law dealing with children has now shifted much of its focus from respecting the autonomy of children to adopting an increasingly more paternal approach.
Children – overruled
In all cases that have been to the English courts, children who have refused transfusions have been found to lack the capacity to make these decisions. Therefore, the courts have consistently overruled the decisions of children.
The guidelines state that overruling in the courts “has been the outcome of the majority of cases relating to the refusal of blood”. However, the guidelines should have avoided using the phrase “majority of cases”: no case in English law has upheld a child’s wish to refuse a blood transfusion because doing so has been seen, by the courts, to conflict with the child’s best interests.
Therefore, satisfying the requirements of Gillick in terms of understanding and intelligence is not enough for children under 16. There is a strong likelihood that the wishes of children possessing these characteristics will still be overruled. This means that the standard of capacity under Gillick is not the only yardstick by which the validity of the decision of the child is measured. It is worth noting that cases in English law have also explained that even if a 16 to 17-year-old child has the relevant capacity, his or her wishes may also be overruled by the courts.
Parents can overrule their child. Shutterstock Refusing a blood transfusion is, of course, a very serious decision to make, and so the guidelines are right to urge surgeons to be mindful of their obligations to patients. However they are not completely up to scratch in terms of how they tease out some nuanced developments in the law that have the potential to impact on children. More needs to be done to determine what decisions could be made in the courts.
There are, indeed, flaws with the current approach in English law, but the guidelines must work within it and reflect the context of the law as it stands. The guidelines could, however, be more specific in the way in which they discuss the law, and particular focus could be given to legal developments post-Gillick in relation to children under 16.
An NHS Foundation Trust v T  EWHC 2980 (Fam)
Decision of Mr Justice Peter Jackson in relation to an application for declarations in respect of treatment, including the administration of blood products, to a two year old boy, T, whose parents are Jehovah's Witnesses.
An NHS Trust ('the Trust') applied for an order in relation to administration of blood and blood products to T, a little boy who suffers from low blood platelet count. T's treating doctors considered that he may have a medical condition affecting his production of bone marrow, as a result of which T has been the subject of investigation and hospital treatment from time to time.
The Court had available to it a report from T's Consultant Paediatric Haematologist who indicated that, at the present time and from time to time in the future, T will need to have blood products administered to him in order to prevent a very serious deterioration in his health.
T's parents were unable to consent to the administration of blood products to T, as they belong to the Jehovah's Witness faith, but they did not oppose the application, instead leaving the decision to the court. Whilst they did not attend court, and were not represented, they sent letters fully explaining the position in which they found themselves. T's parents emphasised that they would want forms of treatment other than the administration of blood products to be considered in any case in which they might be equally effective. That was also the position of the Trust.
The court concluded, having read the medical evidence and having considered the view of T's parents, that it is 'overwhelmingly' in T's best interests for him to be able to receive the proposed treatment in order for his health to be supported and further that the inability of the hospital to give him this treatment could lead to 'very serious and possibly even fatal consequences as time went on.'
Mr Justice Peter Jackson declared that it is lawful and in T's best interests that he receives blood or blood products should the same be clinically indicated in the opinion of the treating doctors. The order, made under the inherent jurisdiction, recorded that such treatment will only be given after consultation with the parents and that blood products or blood will only be used if there is no clinically appropriate alternative.
Summary by Emily Ward, barrister, Broadway House Chambers
Case No: FD16P00641
Neutral Citation Number:  EWHC 2980 (Fam)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
Date: 18 November 2016
THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE PETER JACKSON
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AN NHS FOUNDATION TRUST Applicant
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(1) MRS T
(2) MR T Respondents
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Claire Watson (instructed by Capsticks LLP) for the Applicant
The Respondents did not attend and were not represented
Hearing date: 18 November 2016
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NOTE OF JUDGMENT
APPROVED BY THE JUDGE
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MR JUSTICE PETER JACKSON:
1. This is an application in relation to a 2-year-old boy known as Child T. Unfortunately, he suffers from a low blood platelet count, which has led his treating doctors to consider that he may have a medical condition affecting his production of bone marrow. This is causing problems which have led him to be the subject of investigation and hospital treatment from time to time.
2. I have read reports from the Consultant Paediatric Haematologist who is responsible for T's treatment. He indicates that, at the present time and from time to time in the future, T is going to need to have blood products administered to him in order to prevent a very serious deterioration in his health.
3. T's parents are fully committed to their son and to achieving the best outcome for him. But the particular form of treatment (by the administration of blood products) causes them problems because they belong to the Jehovah's Witness faith. They have not attended court but have sent letters which fully explain the position they find themselves in. They are understandably unable to consent to what is being proposed but they do not oppose it and leave the decision to the Court. They emphasise that they would want forms of treatment other than the administration of blood products to be considered in any case in which they might be equally effective, and that is also the position of the Hospital Trust bringing the application.
4. I should mention that T himself is not legally represented and in the circumstances of the case I do not consider that to be necessary. Further, the Hospital Trust making the application had paperwork in order in case a reporting restriction order was needed but, having heard from Mr Farmer of the Press Association, I am satisfied that none is needed as there is no likelihood of this case attracting significant media attention. At all events this hearing has taken place in private and a judgment which does not name the child or the hospital will be recorded on the BAILII website in due course.
5. I am in no doubt at all, having read the medical evidence and having considered the views of T's parents, that it is overwhelmingly in T's best interests for him to be able to receive this treatment in order for his health to be supported and that the inability of the hospital to give him this treatment could lead to very serious and possibly even fatal consequences as time went on. I am satisfied that it is necessary for the Court to make the decision instead of the parents.
6. I will therefore approve the Order which has been placed before the Court which provides that, notwithstanding the absence of parental consent, it is lawful and in T's best interests that he receives blood or blood products should the same be clinically indicated in the opinion of the treating doctors. The Order will record that such treatment will only be given after consultation with the parents and that blood products or blood will only be used if there is no clinically appropriate alternative.
7. The Order will be made under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court and not under section 8 of the Children Act 1989.
8. I make the procedural orders allowing the Hospital Trust permission to bring this application.
9. That is my judgment.
By Jack Ryan
Watch Tower’s legal challenges have held up UK investigation into alleged sexual abuse for more than two years
The charity commission is investigating claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses abuse survivors were forced to face their attackers. Photograph: Fairfax Media/Getty Images
The UK’s main Jehovah’s Witnesses charity has dropped efforts to block an investigation into how it handled allegations of sexual abuse, including of children, after a legal fight lasting more than two years.
The Charity Commission launched an inquiry into safeguarding at the religion’s main UK charity in May 2014 after receiving allegations that survivors of rape and sexual abuse, including people abused as children, were forced to face their attackers in “judicial committees”.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, resisted the investigation into 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.
The WTBTS, which had a turnover of more than £80m last year, launched a series of legal challenges to the inquiry. These included 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.
The commission announced last week that, more than two and a half years after the investigation was launched, the WTBTS had shared some of the documents it had been seeking and the commission had since cancelled the production order. The charity had also dropped the last of its legal cases against the inquiry, the supreme court having refused to hear that particular case in July.
Although charities do sometimes challenge the commission’s decisions in court, the extent and length of the Jehovah’s Witnesses litigation were unprecedented in recent times, a commission spokesman told the Guardian last year.
A spokesman for the WTBTS said: “In light of the progress of the inquiry and the information obtained by the commission from Watch Tower and other sources, the commission has agreed to revoke the production order. Watch Tower has therefore agreed to withdraw its application for judicial review of the production order and a consent order has been filed with the high court to conclude the proceedings.
“Watch Tower will now work with the commission to explore the issues that are the subject of the statutory inquiry and to address the commission’s regulatory concerns.”
The commission is conducting a separate investigation into the Manchester New Moston congregation, where three adult survivors of child sex abuse were allegedly brought face-to-face with their abuser shortly after he was released from prison after being jailed for attacking them.
He was later “disfellowshipped”, or expelled, from the church. But two women in separate cases told the Guardian last year that although the church can disfellowship people from the tight-knit congregations for minor offences, such as gambling, their abusers had been allowed to remain in the church. One, who was raped as an adult, said she had been urged by senior congregation members, known as elders, to face her rapist at a private hearing, leaving her “completely traumatised” and leading to the breakup of her marriage.
A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said last year: “We are in no position to, and neither would we wish to, force any victim of abuse to confront their attacker.”
Thomas Beale, of AO Advocates, who last year won a civil case that found the Jehovah’s Witnesses had failed to protect a woman from sexual abuse that began when she was four, said the commission’s decision to drop its production order could allow the charity to withhold further information.
“Of course we welcome the ongoing statutory inquiry into Jehovah’s Witnesses’ safeguarding policies and look forward to reviewing its findings,” he said.
“However, given our experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses in litigation, we struggle to see how a thorough and robust investigation can occur now that the Charity Commission has decided to revoke its production order. We think the chance of full disclosure now by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is very small.”
The organisation has faced similar claims overseas. Last year an inquiry in Australia found the organisation failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and that its weak internal procedures left abusers at large. Similar claims have emerged in Canada.
A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses told the Guardian last year: “Congregation elders do not discourage [reports to the authorities] or shield abusers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions.”
Fay Maxted, the chief executive of the Survivors Trust, said the WTBTS should apologise to those affected for the “appalling delays” caused by its litigation.
“Faith groups need to really take on board the huge damage and pain caused to victims and survivors when appeal after appeal is pursued in an attempt to prevent them from having to share information,” she said. “It is very difficult in such circumstances to believe that the best interests of the victim or survivor are in any way being considered.”
Maxted said she hoped the decision to share information with the commission signalled a change in their approach to the needs of victims and survivors.
By Jack Ryan
A Jehovah’s Witness preacher and elder has been jailed for having sexual activity with a girl of 14.
Family man Daniel Arthington, 46, of Llanddaniel, Anglesey, pleaded guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court and was sent to prison for two years and eight months.
“I’m satisfied there was an element of grooming involved in your successful attempt in snaring your young prey,” Judge Huw Rees told him.
“Your fall from grace is substantial but you have nobody to blame but yourself.’
Anna Pope, prosecuting, said the defendant had responsibilities which included being an elder, preacher and other duties.
She described how a local builder had noticed a van parked on occasions on a remote lane near Bangor Rugby Club.
He spotted it in the afternoon of October 17, with a male driver and a female sitting close to him.
Becoming suspicious he told a friend who was a police officer who arrived and could hear voices from the back of the van, “with noises consistent with sexual activity.”
Miss Pope added: “He waited for about 20 minutes during which he saw the van rocking from side to side, and the prosecution say this was the defendant involved in sexual activity with a child.”
Arthington got back into the front of the van, appearing short of breath, and the policeman asked the passenger to get out.
The court heard Arthington said to the girl: “Tell him you’re 19, I’ve already told him.”
When asked for her date of birth the girl admitted she was 14 and on his way to the police station Arthington declared: “I’m dead.”
Miss Pope said there was a mattress and sheet in the back of the van.
In an impact statement the girl said she now felt sad and depressed, had lost weight and couldn’t sleep.
Her family was now considering whether to move.
Simon Rogers, defending, said his client’s family was standing by Arthington.
“He’s deeply ashamed of what he has done and has let down himself and his family.
“He’s been married 27 years with two children.” References described him as “hard working, kind and compassionate.”
Judge Rees told Arthington he been greedy and lustful.
He told him: “You made a sly attempt to prevent the police from seeing her and tried to hoodwink them that she was 19.”
A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was imposed whose terms ban any contact with the girl and he must register indefinitely as a sexual offender.
After the case Detective Sergeant Daf Curry of Caernarfon CID said, “The kind of acts this man perpetrated have caused his victim and her family huge damage.
“By exploiting a position of trust, particularly towards a vulnerable child, he has betrayed them all and I hope they feel some sense of justice has been reached and they can attempt to rebuild their lives.
“We welcome the sentence and I’d like to assure the communities of North Wales that we will treat every allegation of sexual abuse seriously and thoroughly pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said that Arthington was sacked as an elder soon after his arrest.
He said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of the girl. We abhor any child abuse.
“He was removed from a position of trust as soon as it became known.”
The spokesman said that elders were a spiritual position and were chosen from within the congregation after many years service and study of the Bible.
He added: “The elders are there to protect the welfare of the congregation. And I would like to repeat we detest this disgusting crime.”
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