I believe that statement by Justice Goddard was false.
And, further, I believe that Justice Goddard deliberately lied to the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Below is my letter sent earlier today to Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
In the letter ask the Home Affairs Select Committee to recall Justice Goddard to give further evidence to the Committee and to give her the opportunity to correct her false statement to the Committee.
The letter to Mr. Vaz refers to my letter to Justice Goddard asking her to withdraw / resign as Chair Designate of the Child Abuse Inquiry.
My letter to Justice Goddard is online here: Request to Justice Lowell Goddard that she withdraw or resign as Chair (Designate) of the Child Abuse Inquiry
27th February 2015
Keith Vaz MPHome Affairs Select CommitteeDear Mr. Vaz,Child Abuse InquiryLikely untrue evidence by Justice Lowell Goddard:Need to recall Justice GoddardNeed to review / amend Committee Report on Justice Goddard’s appointmentI write to you to ask that, as a matter of urgency, Justice Lowell Goddard be recalled to give further evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee.In my view Justice Lowell Goddard misled the Home Affairs Select Committee on 11th February.I have considered the question of whether Justice Goddard’s misleading of the Home Affairs Committee was inadvertent or deliberate. I have concluded that Justice Goddard deliberately misled the Committee. She could not, in good faith, make the denial that she made.I ask that the Home Affairs Select Committee give urgent consideration as to whether, in all the circumstances, they must recall Justice Goddard to give her the opportunity to correct her evidence and to inquire further into whether Justice Goddard can lawfully be appointed as Chair of the Child Abuse Inquiry.Letter to Justice Goddard of 23rd February 2015I enclose for the Committee’s urgent consideration my letter of 23rd Febrary 2015 to Justice Goddard.My letter to Justice Goddard is in the public domain here:Point 2 of that letter relates to the perceived false statement by Justice Goddard.Was Justice Goddard’s false statement deliberate?In evidence on 11th February Justice Goddard spoke the following words:do I have any links into any institution or any person relevant to the subject matter of the inquiry? No, I don’t.Justice Goddard did not disclose to the Committee whether or not she had seen a list of organisations and individuals which ought to be or were likely to be subject to inquiry by the Child Abuse Inquiry.If it is the case that Justice Goddard had seen no list of “interested parties” (in the meaning of Section 9 of the Inquiries Act 2005) then she was in no position to make any comment on whether or not she had “links” with interested parties.It seems to me inconceivable that Justice Goddard was unaware of the need to see such a list before making the categorical denial to the committee that she did.Thus, if it is the case that Justice Goddard saw no list of interested parties, then she could not, in good faith, have made a categorical denial of any links with interested parties.If, however, the Home Office or, for example, the Counsel to the Inquiry had supplied Justice Goddard with a supposedly complete list of “interested parties” which was not, in fact, complete then it seems to me that the fault lies, at least in part, with the Home Office or Counsel to the Inquiry.If no list exists of “interested parties” (in the meaning of Section 9 of the Inquiries Act 2005) then Justice Goddard could not, in good faith, make the categorical denial that she did make.It seems to me that whichever scenario may apply with respect to a list of interested parties, that Justice Goddard’s categorical denial of “links” with “any institution or person relevant to the subject matter of the inquiry” is demonstrably untrue and unsustainable.A failure of competence or a failure of integrity?It seems to me that Justice Goddard’s false statement to the Home Affairs Select Committee represents a failure of competence on her part and/or a failure of integrity.Did Justice Goddard ask to see a list of “interested parties”? We don’t know. If she didn’t ask to see such a list why didn’t she do so?Did Justice Goddard take steps to ensure that any list was complete? We don’t know. The Committee must ask her about what steps, if any, she took to ensure that any list she may have relied on was or was not comprehensive.If Justice Goddard failed to seek a comprehensive list of “interested parties” and/or failed to take all reasonable steps to establish whether or not such a list was complete it seems to me to raise serious questions about her competence.If Justice Goddard saw no comprehensive list of “interested parties” it seems to me that Justice Goddard deliberately misled the Committee when she knew, or ought to have known, that she was in no position to make the categorical denial referred to earlier.With respect to Justice Goddard’s prospective appointment as Chair of the Child Abuse Inquiry any failure of competence and/or integrity on such a straightforward matter as her own “close associations” raises grave doubts about her suitability to chair the Child Abuse Inquiry.Questions for Justice GoddardWith respect to the recall session for Justice Goddard I put forward the following suggested questions as a possible means to resolve the issue of whether or not Justice Goddard’s false statement was or was not deliberate.
- Prior to your appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee on 11th Febrary 2015 did you see a list of the “interested parties”, organisations and individuals, who may be subject to inquiry by the Child Abuse Inquiry?
- Who prepared and/or provided you with any such list? On what date?
- If you considered a list of “interested parties” (in the meaning of Section 9 of the Inquiries Act 2005), can you provide the Committee with a copy of that list?
- What steps, if any, did you take to ensure that any list you saw was comprehensive? If you took no such steps why did you not do so?
- If you had seen no such list do you now accept that your evidence to the Committee “do I have any links into any institution or any person relevant to the subject matter of the inquiry? No, I don’t. “ was untrue and/or unsustainable?
- If you accept that your evidence to the Committee was untrue do you now apologise to the Committee?Can Justice Goddard lawfully be appointed?In point 1. of my letter to Justice Goddard of 23rd February 2015 I raise the question of whether or not she can lawfully be appointed.I invite the Committee carefully to consider whether it needs to inquire further into this fundamental matter.I am on record as indicating that I view the Committee’s questioning on 11th February 2015 as “pitifully inadequate”. SeeOne factor which led me to that conclusion is that during the pre-apointment hearing of 11th February 2015 the Committee did not explicitly consider the question of whether Justice Goddard could lawfully be appointed as Chair of the Child Abuse Inquiry.I invite the Committee now to address that fundamental issue in detail, in the event that Justice Goddard decides to “tough it out” with respect to her prospective appointment as Chair of the Child Abuse Inquiry.My letter of 23rd February raises three issues of concern with respect to “close associations” which Justice Goddard may have:
- A “close association” with H.M. Queen
- A “close association” with the Home Office
- A “close association” with Keith Vaz MPEach of these “close associations” may render it unlawful for Justice Goddard to be appointed. See Section 9 of the Inquiries Act 2005.Similarly, the inter-relationships between H.M. Queen, the Home Office and Mr. Vaz complicate the analysis of this issue. For example, the Wanless-Whittam review identified the issue of “paedophilia at the palace”. Have either the Home Office or Mr. Vaz adequately considered the issue of whether the Head of State of the United Kingdom was party to the concealment of alleged child abuse at Buckingham Palace. If not, why not?The issue of “close associations” of Justice Goddard seems to me to be an essential component of any credible pre-appointment hearing for Justice Goddard to a statutory inquiry on child abuse.Given the Committee’s failure on 11th Febrary 2015 adequately to inquire into these matters I suggest that it requires now to do so with rigour.I accept that it is a matter, in the final analysis, for the Home Secretary (or, on Judicial Review, a Court) to decide on the significance of these and any other seeming “close associations” with “interested parties” which Justice Goddard may have and whether or not Justice Goddard can lawfully be appointed.However, it seems to me that any pre-appointment hearing worthy of the name must make rigorous inquiry into this fundamental matter.The need for Mr. Vaz to recuse himself as Chair of HASCI ask the Committee carefully to consider whether Mr. Vaz needs to recuse himself from the chairmanship of the Home Affairs Select Committee at least with respect to the requested recall of Justice Goddard.Mr. Vaz, as a potential focus of inquiry for the Child Abuse Inquiry, appears to have a visible and potentially very serious conflict of interests.Therefore I ask both Mr. Vaz and the Committee to give this issue its serious consideration.In conclusionI believe that on 11th February 2015 Justice Goddard gave false evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee.I view Justice Goddard’s seeming dishonesty as being of great seriousness.I ask that the Committee urgently recall Justice Goddard to give her the opportunity to correct her false statement and that the Home Affairs Select Committee considers whether the Committee should continue to endorse the appointment of Justice Lowell Goddard as Chair of the Child Abuse Inquiry.I further ask that Mr. Vaz be replaced as Chair of the Committee.Yours sincerely(Dr) Andrew WattEnc:Letter of 23rd February 2015 to Justice Lowell Goddard