Solicitor ‘recklessly disregarded the risk of harm’ when he represented serial abuser Peter Ball

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Christopher Peak has agreed to remove his name from the roll of solicitors.

A FORMER legal adviser to the diocese of Gloucester, Christopher Peak, who represented the serial abuser and former diocesan Bishop, Peter Ball, in the 1990s, has agreed to remove his name from the roll of solicitors.

Mr Peak, Diocesan Registrar from 1985 to 2012, will no longer be on the roll of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). An SRA investigation published last Friday found that he had a conflict of interest when he agreed to defend Ball in a personal capacity after the bishop was arrested and charged with sexual abuse in 1992.

The SRA ruled that Mr Peak had “wilfully or recklessly disregarded the risk of harm” by agreeing to defend Ball while also acting as Diocesan Registrar — whose duties, it says, “were broadly to protect its [the diocese’s] interests and that of its congregation.

“If the allegations against Mr Ball were true then he presented a real risk to the congregation and it was in the diocese’s best interests for him to be removed from the Church altogether, whereas it was in Mr Ball’s best interests to receive as lenient an outcome as possible and return to his ministry.”

Ball had admitted his offences of indecent assault and gross indecency to Mr Peak after the police interview, the SRA report confirms. “In February 1993,” it continues, “Mr Peak wrote to the CPS encouraging them to issue Mr Ball with a caution. He told the CPS that Mr Ball had signed a deed in escrow confirming that he would resign his post as bishop, and assured them that this would be put into effect if he was cautioned.”

Ball was cautioned and resigned as Bishop in 1993. He was not convicted for another 22 years. The SRA reports: “As a result of campaigning by Mr Ball and his brother, Mr Ball was gradually allowed to carry out services within the Church in his capacity as a retired bishop. This included working with children and young men.”

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Solicitor ‘recklessly disregarded the risk of harm’ when he represented serial abuser Peter Ball

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