WT loses appeal in UK!!!!!!!

by Viva la Vida 76 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    "I would not expect the loss of charitable tax status any time soon. There would be appeals, a legal process etc. etc. The WTS is a master at spinning those things out."

    You may well be right - but the WT is not, I think, as good as it thinks it is. And, unfortunately for the WT, this is coming at a time when two of the major public concerns in the UK are 'safeguarding' and tax avoidance and financial transparency. Not a day goes by without news headlines on one or both of those issues and no public authority would dare or risk to be falling down on them, especially 'safeguarding'. Bear in mind also that WT (presumably) doesn't contribute or cosy up to political parties, its members don't even vote, it is regarded as a pest at best or irrelevant at worst. It doesn't have many friends nor an extremist terrorist wing, so it may be an easy (not to say popular) target. And, of course, the bulk of the money is shipped to the US (where, I would guess, it doesn't have many political friends either) so all in all, not a lot going for it.

    There is so much concern re 'safeguarding' in the UK at the moment - current and historic - that every public authority and agency (including the Charity Commission) is looking over its shoulder anxiously. The CC has declared that its enquiry is motivated at least in the public interest due to recent criminal trials and ongoing safeguarding concerns. It will not back down now, in my view.

  • konceptual99

    I see your point Joe but the WT did a very good job of overturning the French tax ruling. They might not be adept at lobbying etc. but they can afford very good lawyers and have a track record of spinning legal proceedings out for a long time. Don't forget as well that any ruling that sets some precedence for other religious organisations will attract massive interest from everyone from Scientologists to the Catholic Church. In fact, was there not some joint action or discussions along with other religions that the WTS was involved with a while back?

    I do accept however that the child protection aspect of this particular ruling does cast a different light on things and it may be this factor that is the key that does push the authorities to pursue the case to it's conclusion.

  • Half banana
    Half banana
    @88JM, Ok let's say loss of tax concessions are a big nail in their coffin! I do hope so.
  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    Sorry to prattle on again. I am not a lawyer, but did spend a significant part of my professional life dealing with these sort of procedures from a law enforcement position, including many hearings with judges on just this sort of thing. And, although I never was a JW, I follow this stuff.

    Just some random thoughts from reading the ruling - and 'reading between the lines' a bit.

    1. It must piss WT off a bit that in the courtroom the judge sits beneath the royal coat of arms (reproduced on the court documents). The wording translates as 'God and my right'.

    2. CC has stated outright that its investigation (notified to WT on 5/6/14) is based on safeguarding issues in the public interest partly because of 'recent criminal trials'. WT won't like this. I like to think (but won't ever know) that this may have been helped along by those of us who contacted CC expressing concern, pointing out their policies etc.

    3. The judge has declared that WTUK is a 'corporate entity'. This has implications.

    4. CC issued the Production Order on 20/6/14. There is a 42 day appeal period. WT entered its appeal on 22/12/14. An elementary mistake (born out of arrogance?) IMHO. Most thinkers know to get the appeal in on time even if you hope to delay its hearing.

    5. WT was represented by a 'silk', a QC. Not, presumably from in-house, and I would be surprised if he is a dub. If he is, that would be a biographical story worth reading. Silks don't come cheap. CC was represented by a 'standard' barrister.

    6. The judge repeated that there were ongoing concerns re minors and pointed out that what is required to be produced under the PO is from 2011. We are not talking about historic stuff here.

    7. She quotes the WT QC as replying 'frankly'. To those who speak 'judge speak', 'nuff said.

    8. CC had repeatedly advised WT that some of the delaying tactics would fail, said the judge without further comment. None was needed.

    9. The judge considered that the CC enquiry would be prejudiced if delayed. No further comment needed.

    10. The requirements of the PO were not onerous. I don't know what they were, but they only related to material since 2011. WT is apparently very adept at record and document keeping so should have no problem in complying.

    11. The judge said that there was a 'significant and serious period of delay' with 'no good explanation for it' in a case of ongoing risks to children.

    Overall, the judge was not happy. I think that the WT QC will have reported this back to his client and probably given them a warning that things did not go well.

    The WT does, of course, live in its own world. We have seen multiple reports of senior people not turning up in court, prevaricating, and so on. They need to have a care, I think.

    This is a 'war story' but true. When, back in the late 1970s/early 1980s Production Orders were brought in in the UK for drug trafficking/money laundering/proceeds of crime cases it didn't cause too much of a stir amongst bankers, etc. These are orders applied for from a Circuit Judge requiring a respondent to produce material within a given time. New legislation, and from the perspective of those of us law enforcement officers working in the sticks the head honchos of banks etc. did not take it seriously. Until ... Production Orders were obtained against the corporate entity and duly served. We gave a copy to the local manager (for example) out of courtesy. He'd waffle on a bit and talk about referring it to his area manager, who would refer it to the regional manager. We would explain that if the material was not produced in due time (usually 7 days) then it would be the company secretary/chief executive of the bank who would be required to stand in front of the judge to explain the failure - and he might want to bring an overnight bag in case the judge jailed him for contempt. AFAIK no-one needed to be jailed, but I do know of a case where bank staff were put on 24 hour shifts to produce the material in time. Very quickly, banks and other institutions learned about this stuff.

    Everything I read about WT in court cases suggests that its leaders (almost by definition) are somewhat uneducated and consider themselves 'above this world'. Sorry, guys, you're not and you'd better get a grip on reality. Soon.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    For JW leaders to get a "grip on reality" would mean the dismantling of the WTBTS...

    They have lamely played their usual delaying tactics but disregarded the human care of the victims within their own ranks. They deserve to be exposed for the heartless narcissists that they are.

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    "I see your point Joe but the WT did a very good job of overturning the French tax ruling."

    Sorry, I don't know about that case. The French legal system (the Napoleonic Code) is very different to the system in England & Wales.

    This is just a thought. One of the most influential publications in UK is 'Private Eye'. Is there anyone here who might be able to contact them with a succinct submission about JW scandals about child abuse and financial shenanigans? Someone could do it much better than me, that's for sure.

  • Xanthippe
    Thank you for your perspective from your law enforcement background Joe. You make some very interesting points. The WTS does act as if they are above the law. I personally agree with you, I think they are in for a shock in the UK.
  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    Thank you.

    If the CC doesn't do their job on this, and as child abuse cases mount, I can see (hope for) big shit coming against WTUK.

    Yesterday, for example, in the glare of publicity the House of Commons PAC had a good go at the bosses of HSBC. When it came to the senior non-exec director (chair of the audit committee) who is now chair of the BBC Trustees - and they don't come more 'establishment' than this - Hodge suggested that she should resign and if she chose not to, she should be fired. Strong people, with PR and legal advice budgets beyond which we can imagine, are getting mauled. In public.

    I believe that WT head honchos, naieve as they are, would not have a hope when subjected to even mild questions.

    I repeat my point about 'Private Eye'. Anyone prepared to have a go?

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    OK, I've spoken to, and sent an e-mail to, Private Eye. If they come back to me I may have to cross-refer them to posts here, etc.


  • bemused

    It would be great if Private Eye got involved. In particular they would put pressure on the Charities Commission to justify why WT UK should retain its charitable status.

    I'd have thought the original Independent article and this latest court judgement would be enough to get their investigators on the case, plus perhaps some links to the Candace Conti case in the US to give some wider background.

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