Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Retired vicar accused of indecent assault and buggery denies he was ever an exorcist, court told

Former Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, denies eight charges of indecent assault which allegedly took place in the 1970s and 80s 

George Granville Gibson

A jury was reminded of a vicar’s good character and successful career with the Church of England as the sex offences case against him was brought to a close.

The former Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, 80, denies eight charges of indecent assault and one count of buggery which prosecutors allege took place when he was a vicar at St Clare’s Church in Newton Aycliffe.

Judge Christopher Prince summed up the case against the former vicar on Tuesday, and repeated the retired clergyman’s claims that he was never an exorcist.

The retired former Archdeacon of Durham is said to have abused his position and indecently touching men and boys as young as 12.

Gibson is accused of indecently touching a young man at Medomsley Detention Centre, and the court has heard evidence that senior church leaders were made aware of his actions, but nothing was done.

Judge Prince said: “Everybody is born with a good character, some people retain that and some people lost it.

Prosecuting, Paul Cleasby said: “The Crown won’t challenge the good character and career of the defendant and don’t seek to do so.”

Judge Prince outlined Gibson’s successful career with the Church of England which led to him rising through the ranks to becoming Archdeacon of Auckland “effectively second to the Bishop of Durham”.

The Judge also mentioned Gibson’s early career as an organiser for the Boys’ Brigade.

“He said that he has had contact with young people since 1962 until the end of his career with the ministry in 2001,” he told the jury.

Judge Prince reiterated Gibson’s denials of ever being attracted to young boys or working as an exorcist.

He said: “He told you that was not an exorcist, but that he dealt with paranormal activity as a vicar.
“He said he had never had homosexual thoughts about boys, only about men.”

Judge Prince is set to finish summing the case on Wednesday at Durham Crown Court. He urged the jury to look only at the evidence when coming to their verdicts and said: “Emotion is the enemy of reason, you must put emotion to one side.”

Gibson, of Worsley Park, Darlington, denies all charges.

The trial continues.