Dame Lowell would have preferred to work alone as head of sex abuse inquiry: Committee

Dame Lowell Goddard was appointed in early 2015 and resigned in August.

Dame Lowell Goddard was appointed in early 2015 and resigned in August.

The Kiwi judge who was the head of the United Kingdom's controversial inquiry into historical sex abuse cases would have preferred to work alone, British MPs have been told.

Dame Lowell Goddard's time as the chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse and the circumstances of her resignation were discussed at a home affairs select committee hearing in London on Tuesday.

The new chair of the inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay, denied the inquiry was "an unhappy ship".

Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse panel member Ivor Frank, new chair Professor Alexis Jay, and panellist Drusilla ...

Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse panel member Ivor Frank, new chair Professor Alexis Jay, and panellist Drusilla Sharpling at the home affairs select committee.

Goddard has strenuously denied allegations of using derogatory language and mistreating staff while she was the head of the wide-ranging inquiry, described as "mired in chaos" by one British opposition MP.

Dame Lowell denies using racist language
Dame Lowell's statement on press claims
Judge quits as head of UK inquiry
Justice Goddard to head UK abuse inquiry

Several allegations were made in The Times of London in a series of articles, which Goddard said were "totally false".

UK home secretary Amber Rudd, who was asked urgent questions in the House of Commons on Monday about the abuse inquiry.
Dan Kitwood

UK home secretary Amber Rudd, who was asked urgent questions in the House of Commons on Monday about the abuse inquiry.

Jay, a former member of the inquiry advisory panel, told MPs that every effort was made to make the arrangements work.

She was asked to describe the relationship with the New Zealander and said it was clear from the beginning that Goddard would have preferred to work on her own without the assistance of the panel set up to work with the head of the inquiry.

In reply to questions from the select committee, she said:

The new chair of the inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay.

The new chair of the inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay.

"We were not redundant and there are specific legal requirements that the chair and panel make certain decisions but many are for the chair on her own.

Ad Feedback

"The panel felt like they were kept at a distance from a lot of the activities of the inquiry."

Goddard's tenure as the head of the inquiry into cases of institutional abuse in hospital, schools, and care homes has been the subject of intense scrutiny. She was the third inquiry chair to resign.

The Times published articles containing claims of mistreating staff and using derogatory language, claims Dame Lowell denies.

The Times published articles containing claims of mistreating staff and using derogatory language, claims Dame Lowell denies.

The inquiry's most senior lawyer also resigned recently.

Inquiry panel member Ivor Frank, asked whether Goddard was a "nightmare to work with", said he would prefer not to use such language and there were different working methods involved.

Frank said the inquiry sought assistance in an effort to establish a better rapport between the panel and Goddard.

"I would prefer to say there were challenges.

"There were times when things were perfectly amicable and perfectly professional, there were other times when it was less the case.

"The chair was not always present within the UK throughout that entire 16 month period."

Panellist Drusilla Sharpling told MPs she reported concerns about the inquiry to the Home Office in April and no permission was given to spread the concerns, which were not referred to as a complaint, or take any action.

Responding to a question about The Times' allegation of mistreating staff - which Goddard denies - she said it was entirely inappropriate to comment.

"I am not going to engage in the sort of character issues that have been published across the press...The panel had concerns about the qualities of leadership that were being evidenced throughout the course of the inquiry.

"I did not give anyone permission to spread those concerns among anybody else. I did not require any action to be taken."

Goddard did not give evidence to the committee directly but in a letter to the select committee dated Monday, she said she all matters regarding resignation were finalised by August 11. 

She had produced evidence for the committee, in which she said the job was not an easy one.

"It was never easy operating in an environment in which I had no familiar networks and there were times when it seemed a very lonely mission. However, I am pleased I was able to set it on its way. Ultimately however I had to face a situation which I could not solve and which would continue unless challenged. I resigned to make that challenge occur."

She also said she was concerned about articles in The Times which "appeared to derive from a member of your committee which alleged I have wilfully refused to cooperate with the House of Commons investigation."

"I hope you will agree from the sequence of events I have outlined that this allegation is totally untrue."

Before the select committee convened, a statement to Stuff from Goddard and her husband Christopher Hodson QC said Dame Lowell had not been asked to participate in the select committee hearing, or declined to appear.

"To avoid any misunderstanding Dame Lowell notes that [since August 31] she has not received any communication from the UK Home Secretary; nor from any other person on behalf of her or the [Home Affairs Select Committee] seeking information or her attendance at any meeting.

"On October 6 the UK Permanent Secretary advised her that members of the [committee] had expressed to him a wish to meet with her, and that this was a matter for the [committee] to deal with, as it has now done in its October 14 letter."

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers

Blind dog caregivers wanted

Around 17 puppies from the Blind Foundation are needing temporary homes from 12 to 18 months.

The Blind Foundation is looking for Auckland homes to temporarily house potential guide dogs.

Bowling club and RSA confirm merger support

The East Coast Bays RSA has been conditionally sold to Browns Bay Medical Centre.

A local RSA and bowling club are looking at a future together following general meetings at each of the clubs.

Confidence through horses

Glen Eden resident Ellie Hancock says Equine Reflections is a long term dream to put together and "it's finally clicked".

They hoped to help all types of people but at risk youth was what they would work towards.

Women wanted for menopause study

Postgraduate students from left, Jenna Houston-Tupou, Joshua Wong and Mandy Lardenoye hope to present the results of the ...

A group of experts need volunteers for a study about the affects of exercise on menopause.


Economy needs immigration

Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford.

OPINION: Being able to hire someone with the necessary skills is essential for business.

Welly a top beer town

Wellington has long attracted accolades for its craft beers.

There are three great places in the world to grab a bevvy, according to Lonely Planet.

Blaze guts Porirua home

Brave smile: Vasati Rosana Lopati has lost everything in a fire at her rented home.

Nobody injured but property destroyed in huge fire.

Black Cap three times over limit

Cricketer Doug Bracewell has pleaded guilty to driving with breath alcohol more than three-time the legal limit. (File photo)

Doug Bracewell admits to drink driving, saying he made an extremely bad call.


What makes a great cafe? video

Offering something different can be a cafe's saviour, but there is a risk in becoming gimmicky.

Coffee connoisseurs share their secrets to surviving the fiercely competitive bean scene.

Struggle after shooting

Verity and Ben McLean.

Garry Duggan allegedly fought and disarmed policeman friend after being shot.

Road rage to hospital assault

Police were called to reports of a man kicking another man in the head after a car crash in Woolston, Christchurch. ...

A man was taken to Christchurch Hospital after a road rage incident, only to be arrested for assaulting hospital security.

Fletcher Building a 'target'

The $700m new international convention centre in Auckland is also under Fletcher's oversight.

Bored investment banks are ''absolutely'' zeroing in on Fletcher Building, a source says.


Matariki-inspired waka sculpture

Lighting and sound on the sculpture will change based on information from a network of sensors.

An interactive steel structure is planned for Hamilton's Ferrybank precinct.

Riders hit head-on

Traffic was backed up near the scene of the fatal crash north of Tokoroa.

Two motorcyclists who died in a crash with a tanker north of Tokoroa did not know each other.

Trailer load of chips crashes

State Highway 27 is under Stop-go after a truck and trailer crashed.

A refrigerator truck full of frozen chips has overturned blocking part of a Waikato highway.

Seeking closure after Tangiwai

Beryl Donovan holds a photo of her parents, Lance and Dorothy Redman, on their wedding day in 1943, before Lance died in ...

Their father gave his life to save others at Tangiwai - NZ's worst ever rail disaster.


Pair win Top Dog title

Consistency pays off for Taranaki dog trial champion.

Support workers strike

Support workers gathered on the streets of New Plymouth for a one-hour organised strike to call for better job security ...

Disability support workers fear job losses and increasing risks.

What's on in Taranaki

Don McGlashan and Shayne Carter have announced they will perform in New Plymouth in June.

What's on this week?

Being seen brings sweet rewards

Pam Rumble received a chocolate bar for wearing her bright jacket while riding along New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway ...

"People have got to be seen, if we can't be seen that's when bad things happen."


Author on a mission

Glyn Harper reads his WWI children's book Jim's Letters to a class at Tiritea School.

Whether it's military histories for adults or children, Glyn Harper is prolific.

Deputy mayor row

Horowhenua councillor Ross Campbell is accused by other councilors of breaching the code of conduct.

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen wants to change his deputy but can't.

Saddle Rd truck fire

Motorists should expect delays on Saddle Rd after a truck and trailer unit broke down.

Driver escapes with minor injuries as break-down causes delays.

Dog bites cop

A pit bull dog has been hidden by its owner after it attacked a police officer.

A pit bull is in hiding after it chomped into a police officer's arm.


Prison for $240k fraud

Candice Preston and her husband Phillip Walker were found guilty of benefit fraud worth nearly $330,000.

A couple stood in the dock together to be sentenced for "one of the highest ranking" NZ benefit frauds.

Hone sleeping ban plan

Protests such as this in the Nelson CBD will soon be subject to a permit process under a new council bylaw.

A proposed new bylaw out for public consultation bans sleeping in the CBD and requires permits for protests.

Aurora lights up Lake Rotoiti

The red light featured is the top of the aurora. The further south, the more yellow it gets.

A strong geomagnetic storm caused a rare Aurora Australis to be visible at Lake Rotoiti.

Power out in Mapua

Mapua businesses are without power after a fire in a powerbox kills the mains.

Mapua is without any electricity after a fire in a powerbox, forcing businesses to close.


One month, 25,000 meals

BV Gourmet second chef Chris Pearce makes pickled beetroot for harvest meals.

It's been a challenging harvest, not just for the vineyard workers, but for those who feed them. 

Yealands opts for trial

Peter Yealands won the Lincoln University Foundation's South Island Farmer of the Year in 2013. (File photo)

One of NZ's leading wine producers denies allegations he illegally dumped a winemaking byproduct.

Disability workers strike

IDEA Service workers protest during a one-hour strike at the roundabout of High St and Seymour St in central Blenheim.

"People will lose their jobs and we still have no idea when that is coming. People here are struggling."

Pokie scheme 'netted $1m a year'

Michael Joseph O'Brien was allegedly at the centre of a pokie machine grants scam.

Crown alleges true control was concealed to deceive gambling authorities.

South Canterbury

Super friendly clash for Timaru

Crusaders supporter Toby Carpenter (left) and Highlanders supporter Olly George both think their team will win the Super ...

Crusaders and Highlanders fans are in for a treat when the two sides clash in Timaru in July.

Park extension mulled

DOC is looking to expand the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park boundaries to include Godley and Tasman braided riverbeds.

Discussions underway to expand Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park boundary.

Westpac admits ATM issues

The Westpac ATM, the ony one in Fairlie, which has broken down again this week.

Westpac admits service in Fairlie not up to scratch following complaints over ATM.

Drama community to air concerns

The South Canterbury Drama League are hosting a public meeting to ask Timaru District councillors to explain their ...

Drama community calls meeting with council to discuss concerns over theatre.


Struggle after shooting

Verity and Ben McLean.

Garry Duggan allegedly fought and disarmed his policeman friend after he and a woman were shot.

'A role-model family' video

Verity and Ben McLean.

Verity McLean was a "happy mum". Now she's dead and her husband accused of killing her.

Cop's murder charge

Constable Ben McLean has been an officer in Invercargill since 2007.

Officer charged with murder handed himself in at the police station 40 minutes after the deadly shooting.

Support from riding centre

Julia Latham with her horses, Gracie, left, and Maxi.

Training courses on riding and caring for horses are helping children at risk in Southland.

Ad Feedback