The children’s commissioner for Wales is to launch a major
inquiry into the events surrounding the case of an alleged
paedophile, writes Alex Dobson.
For the first time Peter Clarke will use his extensive powers to
gather a wide range of evidence into the case of a former drama
teacher, John Owen, including, if necessary, issuing summonses to
anyone who refuses to co-operate.
Owen taught at a school in south Wales where the sexual abuse
was said to have taken place, and later went on to become an award
winning television writer.
He was due to stand trial last year, but committed suicide
before the court case went ahead. Following his death his alleged
victims mounted a campaign calling for an independent inquiry.
Peter Clarke has now launched the Clywch Inquiry (Welsh for
“listen”) that will seek to investigate all the events surrounding
the alleged abuse with the aim of learning lessons for the future
rather than establishing guilt or innocence.
The commissioner has asked for police files on the case, and
will be able to call on Owen’s former colleagues including teachers
who still work at the school.
“I would especially welcome any representations from people who
were pupils of John Arwyn Owen, fellow teachers and non-teaching
staff, parents and carers, school governors, inspectors and
ex-colleagues as well as children who have worked with him,” he
The inquiry will begin on March 25 at the University of
Glamorgan in Pontypridd. It will be held in public, although the
commissioner may take evidence in private if he considers it is