Britain turns to NZ judge for child sex abuse probe

4th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Britain on Wednesday appointed a New Zealand judge to lead a troubled inquiry into historic child sex abuse allegations, after the first two nominees quit following criticism of their establishment links.

High Court judge Lowell Goddard has been picked from 150 candidates to chair the mammoth probe, which includes investigating an alleged political paedophile ring.

The departure of a second head of the wide-ranging inquiry had been a major embarrassment for the British government.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the probe in July last year following a string of scandals involving the abuse of children at hospitals and care homes as well as churches and schools.

Home Secretary Theresa May, the interior minister, said Wednesday there would be "no stone unturned" in the probe, after she announced Goddard's appointment.

"I am now more determined than ever to expose the people behind these despicable crimes and the people in institutions that knew about abuse but didn't act, that failed to help when it was their duty, sometimes their very purpose, to do so," she said.

Retired judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss quit as inquiry chief less than a week in following questions about how her brother handled allegations of abuse by politicians when he was attorney general in the 1980s.

Her replacement, lawyer Fiona Woolf, stepped down in similar circumstances in October following complaints from victims' groups.

The concerns revolved around her social ties with Lord Leon Brittan, who was home secretary when an alleged file containing claims about the political abuse was submitted to his Home Office interior ministry in the 1980s.

He denied any wrongdoing relating to the file, which seems to have resulted in no action and cannot be traced. Brittan died on January 21.

Goddard previously conducted an inquiry into the police handling of child abuse in New Zealand.

"I am honoured to be asked to lead this crucial inquiry -- and am well aware of the scale of the undertaking. The inquiry will be long, challenging and complex," she said.

"The many, many survivors of child sexual abuse, committed over decades, deserve a robust and thorough investigation of the appalling crimes perpetrated upon them," she said.

© 2015 AFP

0 Comments To This Article