As previously reported on JW Survey, the Charity Commission are investigating Watchtower’s UK arm (which is registered as a UK charity, as is each individual congregation in the UK) in response to a slew of allegations of inappropriate handling of child sex abuse. The investigation has since expanded its remit to address other issues of concern such as shunning.

The Charity Commission has already needed to defend the very existence of the enquiry in a court of law; Watchtower apparently felt that the UK Government Charity Regulator had no business investigating a UK registered charity when allegations of serious institutional abuse were made. The UK courts disagreed, and after drawn out repeated legal challenges from Watchtower, the investigation began.

Then Commission then requested documents from Watchtower as part of their investigation but again Watchtower refused to co-operate. The Charity Commission thus went to court to get a Production Order enforced which would compel Watchtower to produce the requested documents. Watchtower, as per usual challenged this order in court.

Last week, to the surprise of many, the Charity Commission announced that it was dropping its efforts to get the Production order inforced, stating;

The charity has now provided a response to the Production Order by making certain documents available for inspection by the Commission and, since the Production Order was issued, the Commission has obtained additional information from the charity and other sources. The Commission has therefore decided to revoke the Production Order and the charity has agreed to withdraw its application for judicial review.

The full statement can be read here.

We found this statement to be unclear as to whether the Commission indeed now possessed all of the documents requested in the original order, and reached out to the Charity Commission both in email and via social media to ask them to confirm if they are indeed in full possession.

They have so far not responded to our request for comment.

*UPDATE: 25/01/2017 – The Charity Commission have responded to me by email, but have stated that they are unable to confirm or deny that they have all the documents requested in the production order due to the fact that they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.*

However, the Guardian, a major UK newspaper is also covering this story in detail, and has not only reported on the Charity Commission’s update, but has also reported the response from various concerned parties. The full article can be read here.

One of those interviewed is Thomas Beale, of the AO Associates law firm, who has previously carried out successful litigation against Watchtower on behalf of an abuse survivor. Thus he is someone intimately familiar with Watchtower’s now infamous obstructive legal tactics when it comes to matters like this. He is quoted as saying;

“Of course we welcome the ongoing statutory inquiry into Jehovah’s Witnesses’ safeguarding policies and look forward to reviewing its findings,” he said.

“However, given our experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses in litigation, we struggle to see how a thorough and robust investigation can occur now that the Charity Commission has decided to revoke its production order. We think the chance of full disclosure now by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is very small.”

Personally, I share the sentiments expressed by Thomas Beale in both welcoming the enquiry and wishing to support it in any way possible, but also in having concerns that the Commission may struggle to get the co-operation from Watchtower it needs now that this order appears to have been revoked. Of course, it’s not possible to know exactly what is going on behind the scenes, and what led to this decision, but past experience seems to show that the only way to get real co-operation from Watchtower is to hold its feet to the legal fire.

The article also quotes Fay Maxted, the chief executive of the Survivors Trust, who calls the delays caused by Watchtower’s legal challenges “appalling” and calls upon Watchtower to apologise for them.

“Faith groups need to really take on board the huge damage and pain caused to victims and survivors when appeal after appeal is pursued in an attempt to prevent them from having to share information,” she said. “It is very difficult in such circumstances to believe that the best interests of the victim or survivor are in any way being considered.”

We will bring you further developments as we get them.

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Follow the Charity Commission on twitter @chtycommission

13 thoughts on “Guardian newspaper reports concerns over UK Charity Commission Watchtower investigation

  • January 23, 2017 at 8:18 am

    The word “Hypocrisy” has been used time and time again
    in connection with the actions of the JW Gov, Body, and
    justifiably so.

    The Bible which they claim is their exclusive property,
    obligates them to be obedient to the civil authorities.
    It states that such authorities were placed by God himself
    for our benefit and whoever opposes them is taking a stand
    against Gods arrangement. RO, 13:1-7. 1 PET,2, 13-17.

    Do they honour their obligation? Do they cooperate willingly
    with Gods holy arrangement? In a pigs eye! In fact they
    use any means they can to delay and frustrate the authorities
    investigations into their affairs, gb, member Gerrit Losch
    even refusing to obey a subpoena issued by the divinely
    appointed law.

    Why do they act this way? The cited scriptures indicate,
    Only those doing bad have anything to fear from the law.

  • January 23, 2017 at 11:44 am

    The British public have a right to know all the intimate details of this. It is, after all, their money that is being given to a murderous, mind controlling cult. Money they get up in the morning and go to work for. Come on people….find out.

  • January 23, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Something smells here. Who paid who? Who took who for a charm offensive lunch just like what happened to Monica Applewhite, or whatever her name is….. that psychologist who got chewed up and spat out at the ARC. She got suckered by the WT. Have they struck again.

  • January 23, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Outandabout, I think you are spot on. Who offered a settlement in the back room for them to drop this case? How much was paid? What documents were given? How heavily redacted were they? Were all UK congregations involved or just the ones they are investigating? Do they not see that ALL congregations receive the same direction? This smells like a Satanic Rat got in there. I am not happy.

  • January 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Money talks and make things disappear. Jw organisation have lots of it to give away to silence matters – money that once came from you and I. Thankfully no more, just from those willing to be enslaved by an organisation and men.

  • January 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Money talks and make things disappear. Jw organisation have lots of it to give away to silence matters – money that once came from you and I. Thankfully no more, just from those willing to be enslaved by an organisation and men.

  • January 23, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Call me a crazy conspiracy theorist, but I do not believe that Watchtower is an “island”. I think the tentacles reach far and wide. They are getting help from someone, somewhere.

  • January 24, 2017 at 12:58 am

    It’s worrying but there are so many elders who have left. They supply the information needed. If the Commission says it has the needed information then I believe them.

  • January 24, 2017 at 8:23 am

    To me it sounds like the UK Charity Commission has the documentation it is asking for from the Watchtower Babble and Tract Society and has withdrawn their production order.

    The bigger issue is if the Commission drops the ball and let’s Watchtower off the hook. Then, I would say there would be a huge gripe.

  • January 24, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    As far as handling their court cases and their government inquires the WT is probably applying the best legal advice to leading to their smallest financial loss. Their feet are already in the fire, but the fire has potential for getting much larger, which they are to fighting to prevent.

    Every big corporation tries to grind down the little guy, a single plaintiff. And most contingent lawyers attempt to force a settlement, not to get a court judgment; they do it because lawyers use their money and their time, and a settlement guarantees them a win, though possibly for a smaller amount than one received from a judgment. So, defendant’s lawyers for big corporations uses stall tactics until their opposing attorneys and their clients agree to settle.

    The biggest money problems that might arise from the WT sexual child abuse crisis will probably come from class action law suits-if any arise- and/or government mandated settlement programs, again, because of the sheer number of victims they’ll have to deal with. The WT will have to participate in one of these mandated programs in Australia. If the Independent Inquiry Into Sexual Child Abuse investigates the WT in Britain I’m pretty sure the same thing will happen there.

    The gb knows they can refuse to obey court orders without the average JW caring much about it. The average JW doesn’t want to make waves. The more documentation the WT discloses the bigger the bonfire, so the stall or outright refuse.

  • January 24, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    The Charity Commission could be getting ground down like a single nongovernmental plaintiff. The article above says the WT either started are threatened to start more litigation to oppose the discovery order. I don’t think WT will be able to pull of this type off crap if they get investigated by the Independent Inquiry Into Sexual Child Abuse. I think that group will hit them harder that the RC.

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