Matrix Chambers has concluded an investigation into top silk Ben Emmerson QC following allegations of sexual assault during his work on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and found he did not commit any act of sexual assault or harassment.
Emmerson (pictured) was the subject of allegations on BBC Newsnight in October that said a female member of staff had been assaulted by the lawyer, who was lead counsel on the inquiry at the time.
Matrix Chambers launched an internal investigation into the claims and the management committee instructed former Director of Public Prosecutions and retired High Court Judge Sir David Calvert-Smith to investigate the allegations.
In a statement, Matrix Chambers said: ‘After examining the evidence, Sir David submitted his final report to the management committee earlier this week. In his report Sir David concluded “without hesitation” that Mr Emmerson had not committed any act of sexual assault or sexual harassment.’
The statement added there was no case of professional misconduct to report to the Bar Standards Board.
Emmerson resigned from the IICSA on 29 September after initial media reports that he had been suspended. The QC instructed Bindmans to respond to the allegations.
Last month, MPs of the Home Affairs Select Committee called on the inquiry to select a new lead counsel almost two months after Emmerson’s exit. A number of other key lawyers for the inquiry have also resigned, including Hugh Davies QC of Three Raymond Buildings, Landmark Chambers Toby Fisher and Matrix Chambers Elizabeth Prochaska.
The IICSA is currently organising 13 investigations into allegations of historic child sexual abuse. Fieldfisher partner Martin Smith is acting as solicitor to the inquiry.
For more on the process of public inquiries, see ‘Watching the watchmen – at the sharp end with the lawyers on public inquiries’