Lord Justice Fulford - Judicial Conduct Office's press statement on investigation by Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore
The press release is full of reassuring phrases but the evidence on which those reassuring phrases are built is not disclosed.
Below is a letter of yesterday's date requesting a copy of the Kerr Report and its associated documentation:
30th November 2014To:Judicial Conduct Investigations OfficeDear Sir/Madam,
Report of the Investigation by Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore re
Lord Justice Fulford
I am grateful to Mr. Wood for sending me the press release that relates to Lord Kerr’s investigation into allegations made with respect to the past conduct of Lord Justice Fulford.
I write now to request a copy of the Report produced by Lord Kerr and the associated documentation.
Given the sensitivity of the matter of child abuse and the geographical association of Lord Kerr with the Kincora Boy’s Home I am sure you can understand why a wholly opaque process is far from satisfactory.
More specifically, I am aware that a former colleague of Lord Kerr’s is subject of investigation by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry chaired by Sir Anthony Hart.
There is therefore, in my estimation at least, an appearance of a potential conflict of interests on the part of Lord Kerr.
It seems to me that any such concerns may appropriately be resolved by public disclosure of Lord Kerr’s Report and the associated documentation.
Confidentiality: Consent of Lord Justice Fulford
I understand that Section 139 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 may apply to the Report. Accordingly I ask that the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office seek Lord Justice Fulford’s consent to disclosure of the Report.
Other consent to public disclosure
I cannot identify any other bar to disclosure in the 2005 Act or Rules.
However, should it be necessary for you to seek the consent of the Lord Chief Justice or the Lord Chancellor or both to public disclosure of the Kerr Report and the associated documentation I ask that you do so.
Should you refuse to disclose the Kerr Report and its associated documentation I would be grateful for a clear statement of why, in the exceptional circumstances which apply, you consider refusal to be an appropriate and defensible course of action. As I say, I have been unable to identify any bar to publication in the 2005 Act or the Rules.
Should a refusal regarding disclosure come from Lord Justice Fulford, the Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Chancellor or more than one of them I would be grateful for a clear statement whose refusal applies.
I look forward to hearing from you
Yours sincerely(Dr) Andrew Watt