4 Nov 2016

NZ judge blames 'relentless' media for undermining her

From Morning Report, 7:19 am on 4 November 2016
Dame Lowell Goddard.

Dame Lowell Goddard. Photo: AFP

New Zealand judge Dame Lowell Goddard has for the first time given details of why she abruptly left her job as the head of a major child sex abuse inquiry in Britain.

She blames "relentless" media pressure for undermining confidence in her.

In a letter to British MPs explaining her resignation, Dame Lowell said she decided to quit when three members of the inquiry's panel met her to voice their dissatisfaction with her leadership.

Dame Lowell spent 18 months at the head of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

She says the intense media pressure damaged perceptions of her.

During her time heading the Inquiry she came in for criticism in the UK over her pay and how much time she spent out of the country in the her first year and and at the slow pace of progress.

In the letter she questions the motives of those criticising her and the Inquiry.

Dame Lowell is being asked by the MPs to appear in front of them at the Home Affairs committee to answer questions - in person or via video link.

But she is declining to do so, saying she would rather put her thoughts in writing.

We asked for an interview with Dame Lowell but her husband said she's talking only to the Home Affairs Select Committee about this issue at the moment.