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Gloriavale appeal dismissed

An appeal to the Court of Appeal by the leaders of Gloriavale has been largely dismissed in a decision released today.

The appeal related to a case heard in the employment court in 2022 and ending in 2023, which found that woman members of Gloriavale were employees while living there and not volunteers.

Gloriavale’s lawyers applied for leave to appeal based on four questions of law which the court has declined. The judges deciding that Chief Judge Inglis had not misdirected herself on the points of law they raised when deciding the woman were employees.

Lawyer for the plaintiffs, Brian Henry, says the five women who took the case are delighted that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the application for leave to appeal, as filed by the Gloriavale leaders.

“The Court of Appeal today has essentially upheld Employment Court Chief Judge Christina Inglis’s decision made in July this year that said Serenity Pilgrim, Anna Courage, Rose Standtrue, Crystal Loyal, Pearl Valour and Virginia Courage were employees and not volunteers during their time at Gloriavale,” he says.

He adds the Court of Appeal has, in its decision today, however requested additional submissions on two new points of law. These relate to the relationship volunteers have with the organisation they work with which the Court thought may have wider significance for religious or volunteer organisations generally.

Mr Henry is quick to point out that these questions raise the issue as to whether Gloriavale is actually a religious organisation, when it is often described as a “Christian Community”?

“It is not directly relevant to the Employment Court trial but we have argued from the outset that this secretive community is not a religion but a cult; it uses children, women, the vulnerable. It is based on unusual sexual behaviour by its Leaders. The Court of Appeal decision to consider further submissions associated to the relationships between people and organisations is of significance to genuine religious and voluntary groups; groups which are hopefully very different to this Community.”

Mr Henry adds that this Judgement does not impact the boys’ case which wasn’t appealed so the fight for them continues.

“Whilst financially challenging, the legal team and supporters are determined to see this through. We want to thank those who have contributed financially to assist these cases as we would not have come this far without them.

The wrong done to so many by the Leaders is still to be determined by the Courts. We look forward to a decision that helps young children entrapped and forced to work as child labour; that is our goal,” he says.

 

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