High Court Judge to head child abuse inquiry
A UK Deputy High Court Judge looks set to head up a committee of inquiry into abuse of children in care in Jersey.
Frances Oldham QC, a lawyer for 36 years, was appointed as a Crown Court Recorder in 1994 and is authorised to try serious cases involving rape and serious sexual offences.
She has been a Deputy High Court Judge in the Family Division for more than 10 years and spends several weeks each year sitting as a judge in the criminal and family courts.
During the selection process Mrs Oldham pointed out that she does not come from a privileged background which, say the selection panel, helps her to relate well to people from all walks of life.
The inquiry has been delayed because the lawyer initially appointed to chair the inquiry, Mrs. Sally Bradley QC, became unwell in July and was unable to take up the position.
Mrs Oldham says she is keen to ensure that the inquiry starts in early 2014. "I am determined to run the inquiry in a way that will encourage all those who want to come forward to speak to us to do so. It is essential that the inquiry is able to establish exactly what happened in the care system in Jersey during the period covered by our terms of reference and I will ensure that everything possible is done to achieve that aim," she said.