Child abuse inquiry panel member says she has been ‘bullied’ by barrister

The Home Secretary set up the inquiry to find out whether public bodies had neglected or covered up allegations of child sex abuse

Jamie Grierson
Tuesday 20 January 2015 21:18
Sharon Evans said the inquiry QC had ‘overstepped the mark’ with his legal advice
Sharon Evans said the inquiry QC had ‘overstepped the mark’ with his legal advice

A member of the independent panel into child sexual abuse has told MPs she has been “bullied” by the barrister conducting the embattled inquiry.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, set up the inquiry to find out whether public bodies had neglected or covered up allegations of child sex abuse in the wake of claims paedophiles had operated in Westminster in the 1980s.

Panel member Sharon Evans, a child abuse survivor and chief executive of the Dot Com Children’s Foundation, which helps prevent children from becoming victims of violence or abuse, told the Home Affairs Select Committee she felt “bullied” by counsel to the inquiry Ben Emmerson QC.

Ms Evans said Mr Emmerson was “overstepping the mark” with his advice, including demands she rewrite letters sent to the Home Secretary, and agreed he was “running the show”.

The chair of the committee, Keith Vaz, asked Ms Evans about reported concerns she had over alleged threats made by Mr Emmerson in respect of evidence she would give to the Committee.

Ms Evans said: “I do feel concerned, very concerned, yes.”

She went on: “I was appointed, I was told, as the media person for the independent panel and to help understand a survivor perspective, and I feel that I was told today that we must speak with a collective voice.

“I feel that would prevent me from answering some of your questions honestly.”

Ms Evans said she was concerned about the “independence” of the inquiry in relation to advice she had received from one adviser, adding that letters she had sent to the Home Secretary had been re-written by him.

“I felt very bullied,” she told the Committee. “He was overstepping the mark.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in