UK

Child abuse inquiry counsel Ben Emmerson cleared

Ben Emmerson QC Image copyright PA

The former senior counsel to the independent inquiry into historical child sexual abuse in England and Wales has been cleared of allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

An inquiry worker claimed he groped her in a lift in September.

But a former director of public prosecutions has now exonerated Ben Emmerson QC "without hesitation".

Mr Emmerson, who quit the inquiry in September, said he was "very pleased" with the investigation's outcome.

He said: "This has been a difficult period and I am naturally very pleased that an independent senior judge has now confirmed that the allegations against me were always unfounded."

The inquiry worker said the senior lawyer assaulted her at the inquiry's offices in Millbank in central London in early September.

Mr Emmerson was suspended over what the inquiry said were concerns about his leadership, and then resigned.

His chambers, Matrix, set up an inquiry into his conduct, led by Sir David Calvert-Smith.

As well as being a former senior counsel to the inquiry, Mr Emmerson is a deputy High Court judge, a visiting professor of human rights law at Oxford University and a leading international lawyer.

The national child abuse inquiry was set up in 2014 to examine whether public bodies including the police have failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse. It will also examine claims of abuse involving "well-known people".

It is currently led by Professor Alexis Jay but has been beset by problems, most notably the resignations of her three predecessors.

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