In a surprising turn of events yesterday, self-styled whistleblower and ex-MET police officer Jonathan Wedger was granted “core participant” status by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
This decision appears to reverse a Notice of Determination issued in October 2018, which read in part:
An application was made on behalf of retired Detective Constable Margaret Oliver, retired Detective Constable John (sic) Wedger and retired Detective Superintendent Peter Jackson for core participant status in the Accountability and Reparations Investigation on 14 May 2018. While this application was made outside the window for core participant applications, the application provides reasons for this and I am satisfied that I should proceed to consider the application despite it being submitted late
I provisionally declined the application on 7 August 2018. All three applicants were provided with an opportunity to renew their application by notifying the Solicitor to the Inquiry of their intention to renew and providing written submissions in support of their application by 4 September 2018. The application was not renewed. This notice sets out my final determination of the application. …
…I am not satisfied that Ms Oliver, Mr Wedger and Mr Jackson have played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the Inquiry relates, or that there are other good reasons to designate them as core participants in the Accountability and Reparations investigation.
In the same document, IICSA Chair Professor Alexis Jay OBE noted that the Accountability and Reparations investigation would pertain specifically to experiences of people who had been placed in children’s homes in England and Wales. She wrote,
On the information placed before me, the experience of Ms Oliver, Mr Wedger and Mr Jackson does not appear to relate specifically to one of the five cases studies (sic).
However, in yesterday’s opening session of the preliminary hearing in the Investigation into Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks, Oliver and Wedger were introduced as “national level core participants”, along with Sarah Champion MP, Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation, Ofsted, the Home Office, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
It’s our understanding that rejection of an application for core participant status in one thread of the IICSA does not necessarily mean rejection from others, which would explain this apparent reversal. However, our readers will know that we have some serious concerns about Wedger’s activities.
From ITNJ to IICSA
We cannot help but wonder whether the IICSA is aware of Wedger’s participation in last year’s ITNJ loon-fest, where he hauled out the case of “Foxy” (real name: Fiona Walsh), claiming she had “connections with high-ranking police officers and magistrates”, as well as a high-ranking executive at the BBC.
Wedger has claimed on multiple occasions to have “exposed” Foxy’s “sexual racket”, with the result that his senior officers “shut him down” and made various threats against him, claiming they would ruin his life if he didn’t shut up about what he knew.
In addition, he says he was accused of gross misconduct related to data protection violations—which he believes was a consequence of his whistleblowing.
The SRA connection
Setting aside Wedger’s claims about the police, though, we have a particular reason for our consternation at his becoming a core participant in the IICSA: he is a vocal proponent of the myth of Satanic ritual abuse. We’ve discussed in the past his close relationship with SRA-pushers such as Bill Maloney and Brian Gerrish, and more recently we wrote about his link to Wilfred Wong.
And a few weeks ago, Wedger and his publicist Anna Brees attacked journalist Rosie Waterhouse over two articles she’d written for Private Eye, concerning inconsistencies in a misery memoir published by Brees Media.
Brees and Wedger resurrected an old allegation made by Dr Joan Coleman, the Senator Joe McCarthy of Satanic panics, who’d placed Waterhouse’s name on the infamous RAINS list—a “grudge list” created by Coleman, in which she accused people whose views offended her of being Satanic paedophiles.
All of this is deeply concerning, the more so in the context of Wedger’s acceptance as a core participant in the IICSA hearings on child sexual exploitation by organised networks. Given his rather extraordinary views on such “organised networks”, we wonder what his contribution will be to the hearings, and whether they will affect its direction in any way.
It’s almost as if Dr Jean LaFontaine’s hard work debunking SRA had never happened.