Abuse inquiry requests statement from Prince Of Wales on paedophile bishop
The Prince of Wales has been asked to give a witness statement to a public inquiry about a paedophile bishop who was jailed after abusing young men.
Peter Ball (pictured) was sentenced to 32 months in 2015 for a string of offences between the 1970s and 1990s, and the handling of allegations against him is now being examined by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
At a hearing on Wednesday, counsel to the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC said that statements had been requested from the prince and his principal private secretary.
According to a transcript posted on the inquiry website, she said: “We have also requested a witness statement from both His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and his principal private secretary.
“The Prince’s solicitors have indicated their client’s willingness to assist us and have raised a number of important issues for us to consider.
“This has led to lengthy and complex discussions and we are currently considering the latest points they have raised. We hope to be able to provide an update to core participants on this in the next couple of weeks.”
Charles had exchanged a series of letters with Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, whose diocese covers Highgrove, the prince’s country home.
A spokesman for the prince told the Daily Mail last year that the correspondence contained nothing of relevance to the clergyman’s offending.
Lawyer Richard Scorer from Slater and Gordon, who is representing complainants at the IICSA, said: “It is imperative that the inquiry leaves no stone unturned in its efforts to establish how Peter Ball was able to evade justice for two decades.
“If this means calling Prince Charles and other prominent establishment figures as witnesses then the inquiry should do so without fear or favour.”
A spokesman for Charles said: “IICSA has asked The Prince of Wales if he can help the part of their Inquiry that deals with Mr Peter Ball.
“Whilst The prince has made it clear that he was unaware of the extent of Mr Ball’s behaviour, he has indicated that he is more than willing to provide context on his contact with Mr Ball, as his former local bishop, if that would help the inquiry.”
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) John Stillwell / PA Wire.