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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Case Study: Archdiocese of Birmingham Investigation Report

Annex 1: Overview of process and evidence obtained by the Inquiry

Overview of process and evidence obtained by the Inquiry

1. Definition of scope for the case study

This case study is an inquiry into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham.

The scope of this investigation, in so far as it relates to this case study, is that the Inquiry will investigate:[1]

3.2.1. the nature and extent of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Archdiocese;

3.2.2. the nature and extent of any failures of the Catholic Church, the Archdiocese, law enforcement agencies, prosecuting authorities, and/or other public authorities or statutory agencies to protect children from such abuse;

3.2.3. the adequacy of the response of the Catholic Church, including through the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, and the response of any other relevant institutions to allegations of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Archdiocese;

3.2.4. the extent to which the Catholic Church, including through the Archdiocese, sought to investigate, learn lessons, implement changes and provide support and reparations to victims and survivors, in response to:

a) allegations of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Archdiocese;

b) criminal investigations and prosecutions, civil litigation and other complaints relating to child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese;

c) investigations, reviews or inquiries into child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese;

d) disciplinary measures taken against clergy; and/or

e) other internal or external reviews or guidance.

4. In relation to each case study, the Inquiry will consider:

4.1. how the specific relationship between the Order or Archdiocese which is the subject of the case study and the Catholic Church in England and Wales impacts on child protection; and

4.2. the extent to which any failings identified by the Inquiry in relation to the Order or Archdiocese which is the subject of the case study are representative of failings within the Catholic Church in general.

5. In light of the investigations and case studies set out above, the Inquiry will publish a report setting out its findings, lessons learned, and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales.  

2. Core participants and legal representatives

Counsel to this investigation:

Jacqueline Carey
Christopher Saad
Ellen Shaw

3. Complainant core participants:

A55, A56, A57, A58, A80
Counsel Iain O’Donnell
Solicitor Richard Scorer (Slater and Gordon)
C14, C15, C16
Counsel William Chapman
Solicitor David Greenwood (Switalskis)
Counsel Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Angela Patrick
Solicitor Jon Wakefield (Bhatia Best)
F48, F49, F51, F53, F59
Counsel Christopher Jacobs
Solicitor David Enright (Howe and Co)

4. Institutional core participants:

Adrian Child, Eileen Shearer
Counsel Tanya Griffiths QC and Julian King
Solicitor Lachlan Nisbet (Brabners)
Archdiocese of Birmingham
Counsel Richard Horwell QC and Genevieve Woods
Solicitor David Smellie (Farrer and Co)
Jane Jones
Counsel Peter Mant
Solicitor Matthew Smith (Bircham Dyson Bell)
The Catholic Council for IICSA
Counsel Kate Gallafent QC
Solicitor Stephen Parkinson (Kingsley Napley)
Secretary of State for Education
Counsel Cathryn McGahey QC
Solicitor Gary Howard (Government Legal Department)
West Midlands Police
Counsel Allison Hewitt
Solicitor Lisa-Marie Smith (Staffordshire and West Midlands Legal Services)

5. Evidence received by the Inquiry

Number of witness statements obtained:
Organisations and individuals to which requests for documentation of witness statements were sent:
Daniel Mackle (Complainant)
RC-A15 (Complainant)
RC-A15’s mother
Eamonn Flanagan (Complainant)
RC-A343 (Complainant)
Juliet Hill (daughter of the complainant, Christopher Carrie)
RC-A1 (Complainant)
Brian Hennessy – Second Statement (Complainant)
RC-A493 (Complainant)
RC-A491 (Complainant)
RC-A494 (Complainant)
RC-A33 (Complainant)
RC-A31 (Complainant)
RC-A579 (Complainant)
Archbishop Bernard Longley (Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Kevin Caffrey (Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Jane Jones (three statements) (Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Timothy D Menezes (Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Cardinal Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Birmingham)
Colette Limbrick (three statements) (CSAS)
Eileen Shearer (COPCA)
Adrian Child (COPCA)
Canon David Oakley (St Mary’s College, Oscott)
Fr Stephen Wright (Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Fr Gerard Doyle (Archdiocese of Birmingham)

6. Disclosure of documents

Total number of pages disclosed: 18,704

7. Public hearings including preliminary hearings  

Preliminary hearings
1 9 May 2018
2 25 September 2018
Public hearings
Days 1–5 12–16 November 2018
Special sitting day 13 December 2018

8. List of witnesses

Forename Surname Title Called/Read Hearing day
A-15     Called 1
A-15’s mother     Read 2
A31     Called 2
A-80     Called 2
A-494     Read 5
A-493     Read 2
A-1     Read 2
Jane Jones Mrs Called 3
Colette Limbrick Dr Read 4
Eileen Shearer Mrs Called 4
Adrian Child Mr Called 4
A-491     Read 2
Bernard Longley Archbishop Called 5
Gerard Doyle Father Read Special sitting day
Vincent Nichols Cardinal Called Special sitting day

9. Restriction orders

On 15 August 2016, the Chair issued a restriction order under section 19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005, granting general anonymity to all core participants who allege that they are the victim and survivor of sexual offences (referred to as ‘complainant CPs’). The order prohibited (i) the disclosure or publication of any information that identifies, names or gives the address of a complainant who is a core participant and (ii) the disclosure or publication of any still or moving image of a complainant CP. The order meant that any complainant CP within this investigation was granted anonymity, unless they did not wish to remain anonymous. That restriction order was amended on 23 March 2018 but only to vary the circumstances in which a complainant CP may themselves disclose their own CP status.

The following further restriction orders were made during the course of this case study:

  • Restriction order re documents published on the Inquiry website during the Archdiocese of Birmingham (RC Church investigation) public hearing, dated 9 November 2018.[2]

  • Restriction order arising during the Birmingham case study hearing in the RCC investigation public hearing on 13 November 2018 (RC-A343), dated 14 November 2018.[3]

  • Restriction order arising during the Birmingham case study hearing in the RCC investigation public hearing on 14 November 2018 (RC-A31), dated 16 November 2018. [4]

  • Restriction order arising during the Birmingham case study hearing in the RCC investigation public hearing on 13 December 2018 (Cardinal Vincent Nichols), dated 13 December 2018.[5]

10. Broadcasting

The Chair directed that the proceedings would be broadcast, as has occurred in respect of public hearings in other investigations. For anonymous witnesses, all that was ‘live streamed’ was the audio sound of their voice.

11. Redactions and ciphering

The material obtained for the investigation was redacted and, where appropriate, ciphers applied, in accordance with the Inquiry’s Protocol on the Redaction of Documents.[6] This meant that (in accordance with Annex A of the Protocol), absent specific consent to the contrary, the identities of complainants, victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and other children were redacted; and if the Inquiry considered that their identity appeared to be sufficiently relevant to the investigation a cipher was applied. Pursuant to the Protocol, the identities of individuals convicted of child sexual abuse (including those who have accepted a police caution for offences related to child sexual abuse) were not generally redacted unless the naming of the individual would risk the identification of their victim in which case a cipher would be applied.

12. Warning letters

Rule 13 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 provides:

“(1) The chairman may send a warning letter to any person –

a. he considers may be, or who has been, subject to criticism in the inquiry proceedings; or

b. about whom criticism may be inferred from evidence that has been given during the inquiry proceedings; or

c. who may be subject to criticism in the report, or any interim report.

(2) The recipient of a warning letter may disclose it to his recognised legal representative.

(3) The inquiry panel must not include any explicit or significant criticism of a person in the report, or in any interim report, unless –

a. the chairman has sent that person a warning letter; and

b. the person has been given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the warning letter.”

In accordance with rule 13, warning letters were sent as appropriate to those who were covered by the provisions of rule 13 and the Chair and Panel considered the responses to those letters before finalising the report.

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