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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Prince Charles insists paedophile bishop misled him

Future King told indepdenent enquiry he did not try to influence police investigation into Peter Ball

Prince Charles did not speak or attend the enquiry and his lawyer read a statement on his behalf/AFP
Prince Charles did not speak or attend the enquiry and his lawyer read a statement on his behalf/AFP

The future British King, Prince Charles, has told an inquiry into historic sex abuse offenses that he was misled by a paedophile bishop.

Prince Charles also told the independent inquiry into child sex abuse that he did not seek to influence an investigation into 86-year-old Bishop Peter Ball who was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offenses against teenagers and men.

Mr Ball, who boasted of his links to royalty and was said to be a confidant of the Prince of Wales, had accepted a caution for one count of gross indecency in 1993 and resigned due to ill health.

"I first became aware of Peter Ball during the 1980s. He was later appointed Bishop of Gloucester when he became my local diocesan bishop," the Prince of Wales said.

The prince said that from 1993 he invited Peter Ball to officiate at communion at his home.

"Peter Ball told me he had been involved in some sort of 'indiscretion' which prompted his resignation as my local bishop. He emphasised that one individual that I now understand to be Mr Neil Todd had made a complaint to the police, that the police had investigated the matter, and the Crown Prosecution Service had decided to take no action,” said Prince Charles.

He said there was a presumption in the 1980’s and 1990’s that Bishops could be taken at their word.

“That sequence of events seemed to support Mr Ball's claim that the complaint emanated from one individual and that individual bore a grudge against him and was persecuting him, that the complaint was false, but that the individual had nonetheless profited from the complaint by selling his story. Events later demonstrated beyond any doubt, to my deep regret, that I, along with many others, has been misled," he added.

It was only in 2015 the heir to the throne said he fully understood the allegations, in a statement read by Prince Charles counsel to the inquiry, Fiona Scolding.

In his opening remarks, a lawyer representing six survivors of Mr Ball, Richard Scorer QC, had criticised Prince Charles for not making efforts to check the position of Mr Ball in 1993, after the Bishop accepted a caution.

“This extraordinary lack of curiosity looks like wilful blindness…He failed in that responsibility and therefore failed the victims,” Mr Scorer said.

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