There was an initial hearing for Pearce and Maestri this morning at West London Magistrates Court. Both were present. No plea was entered by either of them, and the matter has been adjourned to a further hearing to be held on 5th January.
The hearing as far as I can tell was entirely routine, but it was worth going to even so, because one extremely interesting fact emerged. David Pearce was represented by Tony Nelson. Yes, the same Tony Nelson who is the school's solicitor. (As it happens he also represented Maestri on an emergency basis just for this hearing because Maestri's solicitor had got caught up in the weather and hadn't been able to arrive in time.)
So let me just see if I can get this straight in my head. Pearce has allegedly committed abuses at St. Benedict's school. And Tony Nelson, the school's own solicitor, represents him. And the same solicitor has
instructed Lord Carlile, providing the terms of reference for an inquiry into abuses at the school in which Pearce allegedly had some part. So he is commissioning an inquiry into abuses at the same time as he is acting on behalf of one of the alleged perpetrators of those same abuses.
For obvious reasons, Pearce's interests are best served by the Carlile inquiry discovering as little as possible - let sleeping dogs lie and all that. But the school's interests are supposedly served by the inquiry discovering as much as possible, so that the school can take the necessary actions to make sure it can't happen again. Otherwise there would be no point in holding the inquiry.
If the school feels that its interests and those of Pearce are not in conflict, the school would have to have interests which are not in conflict with those of an alleged abuser who was formerly a monk and teacher there, and that would in turn mean that the school is also looking for Lord Carlile to learn as little as possible. If true, that would explain why the publicity for the inquiry has been so inadequate.