@Prime: You never answered my question - why did the elders REFUSE to cooperate with the police. Why did it take 3 years and a court order to make them cooperate? Why, if your duty is to report, does the WTBTS require you to call their legal team first for advice when the WTBTS is not the organization that's involved and does not protect individual elders (they are not barristers or lawyers to the elders)?
How is it that the elders for three years refused to cooperate with the police? All the police can do in respects to this matter is ask the elders to make a statement. Whether they choose to make a statement or not, this conversation would take place over the course of a few minutes, not a few years. It's questionable whether the information sought by the investigating officer(s) was needed to bring a charge because of what is stated here;
"But Newcastle Crown Court heard he had secretly confessed to the abuse to the elders."
Up to this point, the elders didn't make a statement, so the police obviously had the same information.
If the courts needed the elders to testify for a conviction, this is an option. The position taken by the elders was to testify if they have a legal obligation to do so. The elder's position is black and white. This article makes it sound like the law is not definitive on this matter, therefore, the law is gray.
If an arrangement exists where a person will speak to you in confidence provided it stays that way, it's best that the law dictate what's in the public's best interest if what was stated in confidence should be disclosed.
When it comes to some matters, if a person can't speak to you in confidence, they're not going to speak to you at all.