Ruth responding to the Irish Times article on the recent Jehovah’s Witnesses convention does so by sharing her story with the group.
To Irish Times,
I note in a recent article that Jehovah’s Witnesses are quoted as stating everything they do is out in the open. Unfortunately this is not true. Please see below. The elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses hold all their members accountable to their judicial system. This includes children, even if they are not baptised into the religion. Please note carefully the following to note the danger children are placed in by the secret judicial system.
Appeal court decision in Moram v Watch Tower Society of Ireland, Andrew Beeston, Peter van Benthem and Martyn Bell
On Monday 20th July in a Personal Injury case before the Court of Appeal the Court made important comments concerning internal procedures of the Watch Tower Society.
Killarney Kingdom Hall
Ms. Moram opened the discussion by stating that she believed Watch Tower had breached human rights and the laws of natural justice in their internal procedures which are contrary to the public statutes of the religion.
Ms. Moram stated she had been badly injured by procedures she did not know existed. She stated she had discovered religious rules which had been concealed from her as a member of the religion. She stated that in March 2011 she had discovered a copy of the religion’s secret manual given to elders which gave instructions concerning internal judicial procedures. In this manual Ms.Moram noted that there were no instructions to elders to inform the accused person of the charges against him; that elders were to write down the alleged wrongs of the accused on S77 and/or S79 forms and this information is kept secret; the committee which judges the accused person is instructed to make up its mind as to the accused person’s guilt before inviting him to an internal judicial hearing. This last means that the accused person has no opportunity to defend himself. He does not know what he is accused of and is not given time to present a defence. All he can do is say he is sorry (to what he does not know) or he is ostracised (disfellowshipped). If an appeal committee is called in, this new committee reads the secret notes, discusses the case with the original committee and thus becomes prejudiced.
In December 2012 Ms. Moram stated that she discovered there were marginal notes which elders had been instructed to write in their secret manuals. The worst of these was that elders were not to write down or record their errors on any of the S77/S79 forms or notes. It is possible that this instruction was omitted in the new elders’ manual of 2010.
Ms Moram continued to say that the defendants took a motion to strike out her claim in March of 2014 and at this motion defendants’ counsel stated that the Watch Tower Society has a judicial system but does not admit a duty of care. Counsel stated that an accused person would be informed in ‘broad terms’ of the case against him. This fact was essential to her case, Ms. Moram claimed. The defendants claimed that being a voluntary organisation means they do not have to use fair procedures.
Ms Moram quoted from several legal authorities to demonstrate that the defendants are obliged to use fair procedures. A religion can have prejudicial rules but they cannot enforce those rules by using unfair procedures. Ms Moram stated that Watch Tower appeared to have got the two legal principles confused.
Ms. Moram stated that the Watch Tower write in their public literature that they do nothing in secret, that the Inquisition is very wrong and that they support human rights. However they have a secret book, use the tactics of the Inquisition and breach human rights. Watch Tower takes countries to the ECHR if they believe such countries are breaching civil rights, therefore they must not breach human rights themselves or do things in secret.
Defendants’ counsel claimed that Ms. Moram should not have read the elders’ manual. He stated that the manual is highly confidential and only for use by elders. He claimed Ms. Moram had enough knowledge in 2004 and 2009 to take a case to court. He stated Ms. Moram should have taken a personal injury case in 2009.
However Ms. Moram claimed that as a member she had the right to know the procedures by which she was being judged. She claimed that if she had known of these secret procedures in 2004 or in 2009 she could have prevented her injuries. She might not have belonged to the organisation if she had known they breach human rights.
The judges stated they believed Ms Moram could have discovered these secret procedures during discovery in a personal injury case if taken earlier. The judges quoted from a letter Ms. Moram’s solicitor has sent to Watch Tower on 20th April 2009 in which he wrote ‘She had no right to defend herself as per the Constitution of this country at that hearing. The failure to allow her her Constitutional rights . . . has led to the situation which now prevails.’ Although the solicitor believed at the time the other defendants had acted against Watch Tower procedures, the judges believed it would have become evident during discovery that it was Watch Tower rules which had caused the problem. The defendants claimed they would have made the secret elders’ manual available during discovery. Ms. Moram believed they would not have done. However the judges struck out Ms. Moram’s claim as being statute barred but did sympathise with Ms. Moram because of the serious injuries she had sustained as a result of the defendants’ illegal procedures. The judges stated that Ms. Moram could be glad that by taking the matter to court she had made public a wrong.
Ms Moram knows that if she had taken a personal injury case in 2009 she would have been awarded compensation but she is of the firm belief that a case taken at that early date would not have exposed the secret procedures so clearly. Ms. Moram was pleased that she had been able to expose the secret internal procedures of the Watch Tower Society which are illegal.
As there is unlikely to be a court report on this case, there is a near verbatim report in this post.
We did note that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had someone taking copious notes. We offer them the right to publish without censorship their record of the case.
Ruth Moram 087 2252754 Knockanes, Headford, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Filed under: Jehovah's Witnesses |