NSPCC suspends abuse trial witness

The NSPCC has suspended a staff member over his role as a
character witness in a court case involving a man found innocent of
sexually abusing children,writes Sally

Director Mary Marsh said the NSPCC had received an external
complaint regarding the participation of a member of staff as a
character witness in a court case, and had “personally
commissioned an independent inquiry into this issue”.

Marsh said its head of media relations Gerry Tissier, who gave
evidence at the trial of Henry Bran, a music teacher cleared at
Southwark crown court a fortnight ago of abusing three girls, had
become involved in the case in a personal capacity.

But the mother of one of the girls wrote to Marsh saying she was
“stunned that an organisation we previously trusted and have
raised funds for should abandon its guiding principles”.

The letter says Tissier stated that Bran was a “respected
musician who had raised money on behalf of the NSPCC”.

Bran was cleared 18 months earlier of abusing a five-year-old
girl at the same primary school where he was a learning support

He began guitar lessons at the school, but later began offering
private tuition instead.

A year after the home lessons began, allegations of abuse
emerged. Bran was sacked after failing to attend disciplinary

Tissier told Community Care: “What I did was in a personal
capacity, not as a representative of the NSPCC. And what I did was
to fulfill my public duty to give evidence in court when called
upon to do so.”

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