Jersey – Dame Steel’s Terms of Reference Released

Dame Heather SteelThe Diocese of Winchester has released the Terms of Reference for Dame Heather Steel’s investigation as part of Bishop John Gladwin’s visitation. They give Dame Steel a wide remit to interview anyone and seek evidence from any source that she feels pertinent in her investigation as to whether any charges should be brought against anybody in relation to the events outlined in the Korris Review. The Terms of Reference have been released at this point because the investigation is moving into a public phase.

Following the announcement of the Investigation in May, Dame Heather Steel, who has been appointed as the lead investigator, has initially been dealing with the considerable amount of existing evidence regarding the complaint and how it was handled. Her inquiries will now move into a public phase, which will see a call for evidence and the Investigation’s Terms of Reference published on the Diocese of Winchester website and in local Jersey media. Additionally, Dame Heather hopes to visit Jersey in due course to undertake further interviews with the parties involved.

There is still some ambiguity as to what, if any, action will be taken against the Dean Bob Key or others if Dame Steel finds that charges should be laid against any individual. At the heart of the crisis is a dispute as to who has ultimate legal authority on the Island. The Church of England on Jersey has its own Canon Law and therefore clergy there cannot be charged under the Clergy Discipline Measure of the Church of England. When questioned on whether this ambiguity had been reconciled, a spokesman for the Diocese responded that any such suppositions were premature given that the Investigation had not yet reached its conclusions. Regardless, for the Bishop of Winchester to lay charges against Bob Key or others in the Ecclesiastical Court of the Church of England in Jersey would be a tacit acceptance that that court had jurisdiction on the Island.

There has been no response so far from the Clergy Chapter on Jersey or from the States.

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