Some friends and I met Lord Carlile today to discuss the sex abuse scandal at St. Benedict's School as part of his inquiry, and it was a very constructive meeting.
Lord Carlile has asked that the meeting remain private, and that I do not blog about what was said at the meeting until after he produces his report, and I have agreed to this. However there were two points which he is happy for me to repeat here.
The first concerns allegations of criminal activities. He expressed the view that if anybody wishes to come forward with allegations about David Pearce, then it would be advisable to do so sooner rather than later. The more time that passes, the greater the likelihood that Pearce's lawyers would be able to get any prosecutions struck down for abuse of process because of the delays involved. I might not have the form of words that he used exactly right, but this is the essence of it. So if you are a victim or a witness and have an account of abuse by Pearce, then his suggestion is that you should come forward and give a statement to the police about it as soon as possible.
The second point concerns the timetable for the inquiry, and specifically the closing date for the Call for Evidence. Apparently there are further notices going into the national papers this week, and he intends treating the 28 day period as starting from when these final notices are published, so that means the end of that period will be on or around 10th November. But he made it very clear that he doesn't regard that as a hard cutoff. Submissions that arrive a bit after that date will be considered if at all possible, though of course submissions that arrive very late, once the final report writing is underway, probably will not be able to get very much consideration. The date should be regarded as a target rather than as a limit beyond which submissions will not be considered. That said, if you have a contribution and you can get it to him within the 28-day period, he would find that helpful.