Christ Church Oxford: Dean Martyn Percy cleared for the fifth time

Jun 2, 2021 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

In the case of the allegation of sexual assault and harassment made against Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Oxford, the Church of England determined that the CDM (Clergy Discipline Measure) should proceed to trial. But one of Britain’s most senior Court of Appeal judges, Dame Sarah Asplin, President of Tribunals for the Church of England, has ruled that it would be “entirely disproportionate” for the matter to be referred to a Clergy Disciplinary Tribunal.

The ruling is the latest setback for the Students (ie Fellows) of Christ Church in their prolonged, multi-million-pound battle with its Head of House, the Very Rev’d Martyn Percy. Judge Asplin was asked to rule on a complaint against the Dean made by a Canon of the Cathedral, the Rev’d Graham Ward. The complaint is also the subject of a parallel College process to try and eject the Dean. But in a 1,200-word judgment, Dame Sarah ruled that it would not be proportionate to refer the matter to a Church tribunal.

This CDM determination is the view of a Court of Appeal Judge, based on the thorough investigation undertaken by an independent barrister. The CDM test of “conduct unbecoming” is a lower bar than that of the “immoral, scandalous or disgraceful” threshold in the College Statute XXXIX required to remove the Dean. In a CDM, the proceedings can impose temporary barring and suspension, but without imposing the penalty of dismissal. Under the Statutes of Christ Church, full removal from office is the only sanction.

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