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.

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 the charity’s 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

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 also 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 meetings.

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 fulfil my public duty to give evidence in court when called upon
to do so.”

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