Daily Mirror article about JWs destroying evidence
For anyone doubting that elders were instructed to destroy records, see the following letter brought to light by the ARC:
Nobody is arguing that elders have never been instructed to destroy certain information. The above letter is talking about written records that potentially could be requested by individuals under laws like the UK's Data Protection Act. The WTS wants to protect elders and themselves from legal exposure were some numpty elder has written some personal and/or defamatory comments in their JC notes.
A side benefit of this is of course plausible deniability were records to be subpoenaed in a civil or criminal case.
BOEs have had separate instructions about record keeping specifically to do with child abuse cases. This is different to the instructions above.
The most recent letter in the UK, the one being referred to in the Mirror article, is the yearly reminder on auditing the congregation and elders' files to ensure any of the records that are discussed the letter referenced above have been destroyed. It specifically excludes records related to child abuse.
There are many questions that could be asked about what the processes described above that would be embarrassing to the WTS. There are also plenty of questions that could be asked as to why the WTS in the UK has not instructed BOEs to maintain all their records in line with the direction provided by the UK Inquiry that will be doing a similar task to the ARC. There are many questions that could be asked about how accurately the instructions are followed to ensure that records vital to child abuse are not accidentally destroyed. All of these questions could be based on an accurate representation of the clear instructions from the WTS without spinning them to infer some top down systematic cover up and destruction of records related to child abuse.
@Konceptual - you are 100% correct.
I speak as a U.K. ex elder/ex secretary and as a member of a service committee who sat and went through our congregation records in around 2000/2001 and complied with the branch direction.
EXCEPT FOR CHILD ABUSE CASES - All judicial records (envelopes and contents) were read, noted and destroyed and the basic dates and actions became a one line entry on the "specialised shepherding list". This actually benefited those on the wrong end of a J/C whose notes included how many times they rogered each other and other gory details.
CHILD ABUSE CASES - all records were sent to the branch and the basics were to be put on a congregation "Child Protection File" including whether the "authorities were involved" and who the "alleged victims were" - WHETHER THERE WAS A JUDICIAL CASE OR NOT. A one witness allegation should have been included on this file whether a J/C occurred or not.
I know this for a fact - I kept the files myself as Secretary from 2000 until my resignation in 2004.
EVERY YEAR SINCE a reminder to destroy elders notes as per the form has been sent to the BoE and the Service Committee primarily via the Secretary were to check it had been done.
ALL details of OLD AND NEW CHILD ABUSE CASES WERE to be kept and/or sent to the Branch. Not destroyed.
Looking at Australia and the ARC and their successful subpoena of so many records and elders letters/notes I believe the Branch kept them.
Every elders knows about this directive. And the vast rank and file publishers have know idea that the eldubs have this directive. Maybe it's just me, but you wonder at times how the eldubs view the rank and file. Like a herd of blind sheep perhaps. Maybe they have no conscience.