England

Peter Ball abuse inquiry: Caution for bishop 'was wrong'

Peter Ball Image copyright PA
Image caption Peter Ball was jailed for sex offences against teenagers and young men which were carried out over 30 years

A decision to only caution a bishop for gross indecency following allegations of sexual abuse was wrong, a prosecutor has told an inquiry.

Ex-Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball was jailed in 2015 for the sex abuse of teenagers and young men.

An inquiry into the abuse heard how he had been initially cautioned in 1993.

However, CPS legal services director Gregor McGill told the hearing he had seen no evidence Ball had made the necessary admission to the charge.

Mr McGill, who was not involved in the first investigation, said the caution had been the wrong decision.

He added that also not all the necessary conditions for a caution were met, including Ball making a "full and unequivocal" admission to the gross indecency offence.

He said he had not seen an admission, though it "may well be buried in amongst the papers".

'Wrong and confusing'

Ball's lawyers accepted the caution at the time but Mr McGill said he would have re-interviewed Ball on tape.

The CPS also claimed in 1993 it had "substantial and reliable evidence" to prosecute Ball for indecent assault and gross indecency during the first investigation, but ultimately handed down the caution.

Mr McGill told the inquiry that such claims were wrong and "confusing".

But he revealed the case of victim Neil Todd could have been brought against Ball in the 1990s.

Given the evidence they had at the time, he said: "I can't understand why there wasn't a consideration of actual bodily harm."

Mr Todd took his own life shortly before an investigation into sexual abuse allegations spanning some 30 years was reopened in 2012.

Mr McGill said the CPS had been "on a journey" and was a "very different" organisation in 2018 compared to how it was in the early-1990s.

The inquiry continues.

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