Church doesn’t have to pay damages to woman raped by elder, says Supreme Court

April 26, 2023

1.6 min readCategories: News

A mother has lost £62,000 damages for being raped by a preacher after a church won a legal battle in the Supreme Court.

The worshipper was attacked by Jehovah’s Witness elder Mark Sewell, near Cardiff more than 30 years ago

Devastated, the victim told leaders of the church about the horrific incident – but an internal inquiry found her allegations ‘not proven.’

The Jehovah’s Witness organisation has now won a Supreme Court appeal after a High Court judge ruled that a rape victim should get damages.

But Supreme Court justices on Wednesday ruled against her and concluded that the ‘Jehovah’s Witness organisation’ was not ‘vicariously liable’.

Supreme Court justices on Wednesday ruled against the victim and concluded that the ‘Jehovah’s Witness organisation’ was not ‘vicariously liable’

Trustees of the Barry Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, part of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation, had asked the Supreme Court to consider the case.

Five justices had considered arguments at a Supreme Court hearing in London in February.

They said, in a summary of their ruling, that they had to decide whether Court of Appeal judges ‘wrongly’ found that the Trustees of the Barry Congregation, part of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation, were ‘vicariously liable’ for a rape committed by one of their elders.

Justices said they had unanimously allowed the appeal by the trustees and concluded that the ‘Jehovah’s Witness organisation is not vicariously liable for the rape’.

They have not named the woman – she is referred to as ‘Mrs B’ in the ruling – and said she could not be identified in media reports of the case.

But they have named the man who raped her as Mark Sewell.

He had raped her at his home after they had been out ‘evangelising together’, justices said.

They said Sewell had been convicted of raping Mrs B – and of indecently assaulting two other people.

Credit: Daily Mail

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About the Author: Olumide Akinrinlola

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