Legal dispute with the Jehovah's Witnesses

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Ian McKay
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:04 am

Legal dispute with the Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by Ian McKay » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:48 pm

The Charity Commission has won its latest legal battle with the Watchtower Society, the ruling body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 2014 the CC decided to begin a statutory inquiry into the safeguarding policies of the JWs, and the Watchtower Society challenged this decision in court and lost, then took it to the Court of Appeal and lost again. Now the Watchtower Society has taken its appeal to the Supreme Court and lost again.

On Monday, Jonathan Sanders, lead investigator for the UK Charity Commission inquiry into Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent out the following email:
Good afternoon,

I am writing to give you a quick update about our ongoing statutory inquiries into safeguarding and charities linked to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As you may know, one of our inquiries is into Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain. We opened this inquiry in 2014. Watch Tower then initiated what turned out to be protracted litigation against us. We have robustly defended our position. We were right to open the inquiry. We have won our case in every court that has heard the matter, most recently in the Court of Appeal. Watch Tower then decided to try to appeal to the Supreme Court. I am pleased to tell you that I have learned today that the Supreme Court has rejected their application. This means that there are no more domestic routes of appeal open to Watch Tower. We are therefore going to be doing what we have been doing since 2014, which is continuing with our inquiries.

A huge thank you to those of you who have met with me, Nick and Chris over the past few months to share your stories with us in person; and thank you also to everyone who has emailed or who has spoken to us on the phone. There is more work to do but the court ruling is an important milestone.
This precedent will help us to foresee the probable sequence of events if a similar inquiry is ever conducted into the Exclusive Brethren.

Ian McKay
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:04 am

Re: Legal dispute with the Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by Ian McKay » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:58 am

Today’s Guardian contains an update on the inquiry into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Here is a shortened version of the article by Alice Ross.
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Photograph: Fairfax Media via Getty Images
The Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation is under increasing pressure to address its handling of sexual abuse allegations as it faces legal setbacks, bills of over £1m and a fight to prevent the Charity Commission examining its records of abuse claims.

Last month a judge upheld a ruling against the UK’s leading Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Britain (WTBTS), that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had failed to protect a woman, known in proceedings as A, from sexual abuse starting when she was four years old.

Now the Supreme Court has rejected a highly unusual attempt by the WTBTS to block a Charity Commission inquiry into how the Jehovah’s Witnesses charity handles allegations of abuse.

The extent of the charity’s challenges and the length of time they have gone on for are unprecedented in recent times, a spokesman for the Charity Commission said.

In A’s case the high court awarded damages and legal fees totalling about £1m against the WTBTS after the organisation attempted to appeal against the judgment three times.

The decision in A’s case sets a precedent that could expose the organisation to further claims. It continues to fight Charity Commission orders to provide documents on sexual abuse allegations, as well as other aspects of the inquiry, in lower courts.

Fay Maxted, chief executive of the Survivors Trust, a national sexual assault charity, said . . .“It’s deeply disappointing that a faith-based organisation appears to be so determined to try and avoid answering questions about its own behaviour …
. . .
The Commission, which has the power to investigate how charity trustees handle safeguarding, launched separate inquiries into the Manchester New Moston congregation and the WTBTS, which oversees the nation’s 1,500 congregations and is believed to play a significant role in handling allegations of abuse.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses challenged both inquiries in the courts, arguing that they would breach the trustees’ human right to religious freedom. They also challenged orders to produce documents on how they had handled allegations of sexual abuse in recent years.
. . .
While a small number of charities launch legal appeals against the Commission’s decisions, the extent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ challenges and the length of time they have gone on for are unprecedented in recent times, a spokesman for the Charity Commission confirmed.

A’s solicitor, Thomas Beale, said: “Sadly, given our experience of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ approach to litigation in cases involving survivors of child abuse, it comes as no surprise that WTBTS has at every stage relentlessly challenged the legal basis and scope of the Charity Commission’s inquiry.

“In our case … they adopted similar tactics, dragging our client through years of painful and distressing litigation … We have always maintained that this is a time for apologies, not appeals.”
For the full article, see https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... SApp_Other

twotimothytwo
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:16 pm

Re: Legal dispute with the Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by twotimothytwo » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:24 pm

Is there a possibility that investigations into the JW's by the Charity Commission are proceeding because of an absence of Freemasons within the JW's ranks?

The issues involved are remarkably similar.

twotimothytwo
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:16 pm

Re: Legal dispute with the Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by twotimothytwo » Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:52 pm

I guess my question did not reach a suitable level of difficulty! :-)

Jill Mytton
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:02 pm

Re: Legal dispute with the Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by Jill Mytton » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:08 pm

I wasn't sure what you were implying?

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