NZ judge Dame Lowell Goddard asked to front over racism allegations

  • 18/10/2016
Dame Lowell Goddard (Reuters / file)
Dame Lowell Goddard (Reuters / file)

New Zealander Dame Lowell Goddard has been asked to give evidence to a United Kingdom select committee over newspaper allegations about her conduct while chairwoman of the child sexual abuse inquiry.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd, replying to questions in the House of Commons, said she had asked the high court judge to appear in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee to answer questions about her departure from the role and allegations about her conduct.

Dame Lowell resigned from the troubled probe in August, days after the Home Office was made aware of concerns about her "professionalism and conduct".

She has strenuously denied allegations against her, including that she used racist language, describing them as "falsities", "malicious" and part of a "vicious campaign".

She said she had consulted lawyers in London over the allegations.

When Dame Lowell quit the inquiry, the third chair to do so since it was launched in 2014, she said the probe needed to be overhauled, saying "there is an inherent problem in the sheer scale and size".

Ms Rudd defended the Home Office following claims of a cover-up about why Dame Lowell resigned the role.

She had previously said the New Zealander resigned because she was "a long way from home" and was "too lonely".

Dame Lowell's replacement, Professor Alexis Jay, said she hoped most of the inquiry's work will be completed by 2020.

Prof Jay is also due to appear before the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

NZN