Pump Court Chambers

Justin Gau successfully defends Cathedral Dean charged with ‘conduct unbecoming’

News 27th March 2024
Justin Gau

Justin Gau represented the Very Revd Richard Peers, Dean of Llandaff, via the Direct Access process. The Dean was charged with conduct unbecoming a Clerk in Holy Orders regarding a series of conversations with people about the conduct of the erstwhile Dean of Christchurch Oxford, Martyn Percy whilst Dean Peers was sub-Dean.

The panel unanimously rejected the evidence of the witnesses called by the Designated Officers stating that “an unedifying picture of unkindness and immaturity has emerged as part of the background to the case that the Panel is moved to observe that this has done many involved serious discredit”. The panel deplored the “misguided expressions of deeply entrenched views against the Respondent, including through a sermon and the circulation of derogatory cartoons amongst members of the cathedral congregation and receipt by the Respondent of a grossly offensive and threatening letter containing a white powder”. There had been breaches of confidentiality which were being investigated under the Contempt of Court Act.

The panel described the evidence of the witnesses as “prone to exaggeration and lacking in balance and occasionally simply untrue”, “not…especially helpful or reliable”, “lacking in candour”,  and “’…shaped…’ by….a third party to these proceedings”.

They described Dean Peers “to be an impressive and truthful witness.” And “plainly expert and highly experienced in matters of safeguarding.” The Revd Clare Hayns they found “to be a measured, calm and truthful witness.” And described Ms Alannah Jeune “as a composed, clear and accurate witness”.

They dismissed all charges against him

The determination can be read in full here.

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