Kiwi judge criticised, sought to explain shock resignation from UK inquiry

by Sol Dolor08 Aug 2016
Former judge Dame Lowell Goddard QC is being asked by authorities in the UK to explain her abrupt departure as the head of an inquiry into institutionalised child sexual abuse.

Last Thursday, Goddard resigned as chair of the inquiry just over a year after she took over the job.
The departure casts doubts on the future of the monumental probe which began in 2014 and has already lost three chairs to date.

In a report from The Independent, Goddard was called on by Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee in Westminster, to explain her reasons for leaving.

Goddard initially resigned with a letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd that was just two sentences long, saying that she is resigning immediately and that she trusts Rudd would accept the decision.
An editorial published by The Guardian criticised this letter, saying it is “almost an insult to the people in whose interests she was supposed to be working.”

Goddard later released a longer letter, saying that the inquiry has a “legacy of failure” and that “it would have been better to have started completely afresh.”

Before her resignation, she was criticised in the media for being away from the UK for 74 days a year after she was appointed to the inquiry.

The inquiry, however, maintains that Goddard was on official business on some of the days she was in New Zealand and Australia.

The former judge, who was one of the first appointed as Queen’s Counsel in New Zealand when she took silk in 1988, was also criticised for her salary package before her resignation.

Goddard, who is widely noted as the first person of Maori descent to be appointed a High Court judge, was paid a £360,000 (about NZ$660,000) salary and a £110,000 (about NZ$200,000) accommodation allowance.

The inquiry is looking into an alleged paedophile ring that is said to have operated in Westminster in the 80s and involved the cover up of crimes by those from the establishment.