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Motion denied in the Dating Game lawsuit: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 7. October 18, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Canon Law, Church of England Newspaper.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The New South Wales Supreme court has rejected a bid by a former Diocese of Newcastle priest to compel the Diocesan Professional Standards Board to turn over a transcript and documents used in a hearing that ruled he be removed from the ministry.

Newcastle District Court Judge Margaret Sidis dismissed the motion to produce documents of John Gumbley and ordered the former priest to pay costs after she ruled on Sept 28 that he had failed to present a case to the court.

In August, Mr. Gumbley charged Bishop Brian Farran and the Professional Standards Board with using unlawful and immoral means to remove him from the ministry. In May 2010 the bishop defrocked Mr. Gumbley after the board found he had engaged in misconduct by consummating a sexual relationship with a member of his congregation. The 40-year-old unmarried clergyman had protested his innocence, but his veracity was questioned after the board reviewed journals that chronicled his private life.

Mr. Gumbley charged the diaries had been stolen and should not have been used in evidence against him. The Bishop conceded the diaries had been unlawfully downloaded from the priest’s computer by a spurned lover who had handed them over to the Diocese. But the bishop defended the propriety of using them in an ecclesiastical trial.  However, the solicitor for the diocese, told the court the “stolen” reference was “an allegation, not a fact,” according to a report printed in the Newcastle Herald..

Mr. Gumbley’s solicitor told the court her client needed the documents to determine whether the professional standards board acted improperly.  The court said it was “not going to allow this to be a fishing expedition” and rejected the motion.