Report into how rapist facing trial was appointed Green Party election agent delayed

The report was originally meant to be published in November but some of those criticised are understood to have held up publication.

Pic: Former Green Party Equalities spokesperson Aimee Challenor, whose father and election agent was convicted of child kidnap, torture and rape in August.

The investigation into how a child rapist awaiting trial was appointed a Green Party election agent has missed its planned November deadline.

The Green Party of England & Wales launched a ‘full investigation’ in August, after the Equalities Spokesperson’s father and election agent was convicted of raping and torturing a 10 year old girl. 

The Green Party of England and Wales formally instructed the consultancy Verita to lead an investigation into the circumstances which allowed David Challenor to act as an election agent for his daughter (then-Green Party Equalities Spokesperson Aimee Challenor) while facing serious sexual assault charges against a minor.

Aimee Challenor stood down from the deputy leadership race and was suspended from the party when it was revealed she had appointed her father as her election agent in the 2017 General Election and 2018 local elections, after he had been charged with crimes including false imprisonment, rape and sexual assault.

The Verita investigation is set to establish a chronology of events, whether staff or members were aware of the charges against David Challenor, and whether disciplinary action should be taken against members or staff in the party.

After standing down from the Deputy Leadership race, Aimee Challenor left the party and applied to join the Liberal Democrats, citing ‘transphobia’.

The house where the crimes took place had been the family home and the base for Coventry Green Party.

Launching the investigation in September, a Green Party spokesperson said:

“Verita are one of the country’s leading independent consultancies, specialising in carrying out objective investigations of complex and often sensitive issues in a thorough and progressive manner. We are confident they are the right choice to help us ask the difficult questions needed.  

“The investigation – which is entirely independent – will start immediately and is expected to conclude in November.”

However the report will not be published until the new year.

A spokesperson for the Greens told Left Foot Forward:

“The final report will be delivered to the Green Party in early January and we expect to make it public soon after. Our priority is ensuring that the report is as transparent and accountable as possible and helps us to identify changes that need to be made to our structures and processes.”

In December LFF learned that the report was ‘in draft [form] and currently going through the Maxwellisation process’ – where those named are able to respond to criticism and allegation in advance of publication. A Verita spokesperson said: “When it is complete we will send it to the Green Party who will make decisions on publication.”

On the 6th December LFF was told by Verita the report was expected to be ready ‘in a couple of weeks’. But changes were then suggested by the Green Party. A Verita spokesperson said they had received ‘one or two further comments’ which meant the final draft would not go to the party until early in the New Year.

Aimee Challenor later told this site: “GPEW have not received final copy of report, neither have I. Expect there’ll be no further progress until 2019.”

On Twitter, the Green Party’s election coordinator alleged that ‘one of those criticised’ was holding up publication:

One of those criticised is holding up the publication, playing everybody like a fiddle. But many others are affected and the dam will burst if it isn’t published soon.— Judy Maciejowska (@judymaciejowska) December 8, 2018

A party staffer urged the party to publish the report in full when it was ready. A statement from the party initially said: “It is expected that the recommendations of the report will be published in some form. The client will decide (in consultation with Verita) the precise form of publication.”

But a party spokesperson told this site the report will be published, ‘as previously committed to’.

Mr Challenor was first charged in November 2016. However, at the time the party say they were not informed or aware of the charges until Mr Challenor was convicted.

However, Left Foot Forward learnt in October that then-Green Party External Coordinations Coordinator Matt Hawkins and then-party Chair Clare Lorraine Phipps were told by former Equalities Spokesperson Aimee Challenor in November 2016 that her father – a Green activist – had been charged with sexual offences. Coventry Pride – of which Ms Challenor was a trustee – was also made aware at the time.

Ms Challenor said she did not know the ‘full extent’ of the charges until after her father’s conviction.

Aimee was seen as a ‘rising star’ in the party, and has written for the Guardian and Huffington Post on trans issues.

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

See also: “Greens launch investigation after former deputy leader candidate’s father convicted for child rape”

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