As regular readers of JW Survey will know, the UK Charity Commission (the body responsible for overseeing and regulating registered charities in the United Kingdom) have been carrying out an investigation into the UK arm of Watchtower, which is currently a UK registered charity.
Far from co-operating, Watchtower have thrown up legal challenges at every hurdle to try and kill the investigation off, apparently believing that a UK charity should not have to answer to the Commission when that charity’s polices, for example, demand that a child abuse victim be made to face her attacker in a closed off “Star Chamber” type of trial.
Thankfully, up until this point the UK law courts have upheld the Commission’s right to investigate Watchtower in a series of rulings. After the right to investigate was confirmed, the Charity Commission submitted a Production order to the courts to compel Watchtower to produce documentation that the Commission considered essential to its investigation. Watchtower at once challenged this order in the courts.
It should be noted that this fits a pattern of behaviour from Watchtower. In the US they have ignored repeated court orders to produce documentation, even when that refusal comes with financial penalty attached. In Australia it appears that they only provided the documents required by the Australian Royal Commission because the ARC had the power to imprison senior Watchtower officials should they refuse.
In other words, it seems that the only language Watchtower understands in this matter is the threat of prison time for its elite.
Today, the Charity Commission released a statement announcing that they are withdrawing their production order. The state the reason as being;
The charity has now provided a response to the Production Order by making certain documents available for inspection by the Commission and, since the Production Order was issued, the Commission has obtained additional information from the charity and other sources. The Commission has therefore decided to revoke the Production Order and the charity has agreed to withdraw its application for judicial review.
The full statement can be read here.
At present, this statement is somewhat unclear as to whether the Commission is in full possession of all the documentation it requested as part of its Production order. We have reached out to the Charity Commission and asked them to confirm if this is the case and will update once we get a response.
UPDATE: 25/01/2017 – The Charity Commission have responded to me by email, but have stated that they are unable to confirm or deny that they have all the documents requested in the production order due to the fact that they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
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