This morning, Jonathan Sanders, lead investigator for the UK Charity Commission inquiry into Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent out the following email:
I am writing to give you a quick update about our ongoing statutory inquiries into safeguarding and charities linked to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As you may know, one of our inquiries is into Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain. We opened this inquiry in 2014. Watch Tower then initiated what turned out to be protracted litigation against us. We have robustly defended our position. We were right to open the inquiry. We have won our case in every court that has heard the matter, most recently in the Court of Appeal. Watch Tower then decided to try to appeal to the Supreme Court. I am pleased to tell you that I have learned today that the Supreme Court has rejected their application. This means that there are no more domestic routes of appeal open to Watch Tower. We are therefore going to be doing what we have been doing since 2014, which is continuing with our inquiries.
A huge thank you to those of you who have met with me, Nick and Chris over the past few months to share your stories with us in person; and thank you also to everyone who has emailed or who has spoken to us on the phone. There is more work to do but the court ruling is an important milestone.
This is absolutely wonderful news for those of us watching the UK Charity Commission work closely; as Mr. Sanders notes, Watchtower has no more ways to appeal the work of the Charity Commission and now must simply comply with their inquiry.
Whether or not the Watchtower loses their charitable status in the UK is of course debatable; religions today still have tax-exempt status virtually everywhere, no matter the amount of actual “charity” they perform and no matter the scandals associated with them. However, no matter the outcome, the information that could be uncovered during this inquiry and the news media surrounding it may be absolutely invaluable to our activism, much like the Australian Royal Commission Inquiry. I personally would like to thank Mr. Sanders and everyone involved in the Commission for their hard work so far, and am encouraged to see that the Supreme Court did not even hear the Watchtower’s appeal but rejected their application for the appeal itself; this is good news alone, that courts are no longer tolerant of those who would fight for their “right” to hide those scandals and abuses.
I look forward to hearing more about the inquiry and will continue to update this site as much as possible. In the meantime, note this column about how to contact the Charity Commission and what they are looking for by way of information from those associated with the Watchtower.
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