Monday, 18 December 2017

The IICSA Benedictine Hearings

I was hoping to write something once or twice a week at least during the recently-concluded hearings about Downside and Ampleforth. But I was so busy reading the documentation which came in snowdrifts that there was no time to write anything other than communications to my lawyers.

An awful lot of documents were disclosed to the IICSA very late, and before they could be forwarded to core participants and their lawyers, they had to be processed. Much material had to be redacted, material irrelevant to the inquiry, personal details such as email addresses, phone numbers and signatures, names and any other identifying details of victims, and names of alleged abusers where they have not been convicted.

At the preliminary hearing on 6 June, the inquiry stated that all disclosure to core participants would be completed by 31st October, giving everybody a 4 weeks to read everything and forward questions to the inquiry that they wanted to see asked. Even then, it was anticipated that the documentation would run to more than 10,000 pages. In the end it was much much more than that, and tens of thousands of pages arrived after the deadline.

Even in the preliminary hearing back in June, lawyers for various of the core participants were indicating that just 4 weeks was not going to be enough to go through all the documentation.

So I've been spending just about every spare minute of the last 3 months reading stuff to try and make sure that relevant question got asked. I got through quite a decent proportion of it, but by no means all.

Now the hearings are over for the time being (Ealing will be dealt with sometime in the future) the pressure is off and I'll have time to write up my impressions.

In the meantime, if you want to read the entire transcript of the last 3 weeks of hearings, you can. They will make your hair stand on end.


  1. Do you know what has become of the Public Transcript of the hearing on 29th November?

    1. That was the day the victims gave evidence. Obviously someone doesn't want the victims to be heard. This "inquiry" is such a whitewash!

  2. The transcript seems to be available at, under the table heading: Public hearing, day 3 (AM) of 14?

    1. Correct. It wasn't there before, but obviously somebody has been in contact with IICSA to point out the oversight.