Diocese denies liability for abusive priests17 May 2012
The diocese of Portsmouth this week insisted that a priest accused of abusing a child was employed 'in the service' of God, not by the diocese.
Lord Faulks QC, for the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust, made the distinction as the diocese launched an appeal on Wednesday against a landmark High Court ruling that a bishop can be held legally liable for abuse committed by his priests.
Last November Mr Justice MacDuff ruled in favour of a woman, known as JGE, who claims she was sexually assaulted by the late Fr Wilfred Baldwin at The Firs children's home in Waterlooville, near Portsmouth, in the early 1970s.
As it was a preliminary hearing on the case, the court was not tasked with judging the truth of the woman's allegations, but ruled instead on the question of whether the relationship between a priest and bishop was akin to that between an employer and an employee.
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