Revd Timothy Davis: Tribunal and penalty

The Diocese of Oxford has posted the attached notice regarding the two year penalty imposed on the Revd Timothy Davis, following the recent penalty hearing in relation to the decision of the CDM Tribunal on 28 December 2017, on which we posted earlier. We noted:

“On Monday 8th January, the Church of England reported the findings of the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Oxford in the matter of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 against The Reverend Timothy Davis, Vicar of Christ Church Abingdon, (‘TD’), in respect of the mentoring he provided to a 15/16 year old schoolboy (‘W1’) whose family were members of his congregation. The BBC reports that Church of England officials believed that this was the first occasion on which a tribunal had convicted a priest of spiritual abuse”.

The Tribunal concluded:

“[59]. In concluding that all 5 Particulars are proved we are satisfied that TD is guilty of abuse of spiritual power and authority over W1and in so doing placed himself in breach of the Guidelines for professional conduct of clergy as set out at paras 9-12 above, and is guilty of misconduct which was unbecoming and inappropriate to the work and office of a Clerk in Holy Orders. He is therefore guilty of misconduct under S8 CDM.

[60]. In reaching this conclusion we emphasise again that there is no suggestion of any sexual touching by TD, nor do we find that any sexual touching took place. We acknowledge the powerful and successful ministry that TD has had in leading Christ Church Abingdon and earlier ministerial posts in which he has served . However, we are satisfied that he is guilty of the misconduct alleged.”


Today’s Diocesan Notice notes “the findings of the Tribunal are instructive for anyone still doubting that spiritual abuse exists“. L&RUK will review the Penalty hearing when this becomes available, (the Tribunal Decision was published just over a week after the conclusion of the hearing).

The information on the penalty was posted on the Notices of findings and penalties given to clergy in the Diocese of Oxford part of the Diocesan site, in line with the CDM Code of Practice; this states:

“Publicity and Media Relations

264. It is important that the Church should be open about any misconduct that is proved to have taken place. Tribunals therefore announce their determination of complaints in public, giving reasons for their decision, although details disclosing the identity of anyone involved in the case may be withheld in the interests of justice (see paragraph 201 above).

265. If a penalty is imposed on a priest or deacon other than after a determination by a tribunal, the penalty and brief particulars of the misconduct should be announced publicly. Details disclosing the identity of any child, or where necessary to protect their private lives the identity of any others involved in the complaint (except the respondent), should be withheld from the announcement to the public. “

Coincidentally, also on 11 March 2018, the BBC reported the story Rector Martin Thrower struck off for filming teen in toilet in relation to a seven year suspension imposed on the priest.

“The Very Reverend Martin Thrower, 56, Rector of Hadleigh, Suffolk, was given a suspended jail sentence for two counts of voyeurism in August 2017. The Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich held its own disciplinary process in October, but has only just informed the BBC of the outcome. It said it will review its decision not to publicise the ban…

…Gavin Stone, diocesan head of safeguarding, said that, legally, they do not have to publish the results of internal disciplinary processes. He said they were “open and transparent”, but would be “open to reviewing this case”.

Perhaps an initial reference might be to the CDM Code of Practice?

Revd. Timothy Davis | March 2018 | Tribunal and penalty

In December 2017, the Revd Tim Davis was found guilty of conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders through the abuse of spiritual power and authority over a person then aged 15-16.

The penalty imposed on Tim Davis was that he should cease to hold office with immediate effect, and he now stands prohibited from the exercise of holy orders for a period of two years (as announced on Saturday 10th March). Should he wish to return to ministry after the period of prohibition then he will be required to undertake a formal risk assessment.

The findings of the tribunal are instructive for anyone still doubting that spiritual abuse exists, and we commend the young man and his family for their courage and grace throughout this process. The Diocese of Oxford continues to offer pastoral support to all involved.

Please note:

• The tribunal findings were published in January
• A formal record of the penalty will be published on the Church of England website in the coming days.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Revd Timothy Davis: Tribunal and penalty" in Law & Religion UK, 12 March 2018,

One thought on “Revd Timothy Davis: Tribunal and penalty

  1. David — In response to your comment that the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich might refer initially to the CDM Code of Practice re publicising the outcome of CDM proceedings resolved by consent, I shall be raising this matter with Gavin Stone. Further advice on the point was given by Sir Mark Hedley (Deputy President of Tribunals) in his lecture last October to the Ecclesiastical Law Society. At pp 6-7 he said this (under the sub-heading “Openness in the System”):

    “Publicity and transparency are a potential further source of difficulty. In the light of unhappy experience, there is a strong argument for transparency at least as far as any finding and penalty are concerned, whether consensual or not. Of course the findings and any consequential penalty imposed by a tribunal must be public. The problem lies more with admitted conduct and penalties by consent.

    The prevailing view is that these should be made public at least on the diocesan website but that is not always the case nor is it a view that is universally shared. In my view, given that this is an administration of a system of discipline in a national church, transparency should always trump the personal embarrassment and difficulty caused by publicity.”

    The need for transparency, and for this to ‘trump’ any concern for reputational damage, is also one of the themes coming out of the current IICSA hearing in London looking at safeguarding issues in the Diocese of Chichester. It is to be noted that the post on the Diocese of Oxford website, giving notice of the penalty imposed by the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal on the Revd Tim Davis, also gives details of the 3-years’ prohibition imposed by consent on the Revd Canon Jonathan Wilmot for conduct unbecoming, namely adultery with a person in his pastoral care.

    The 7-years’ prohibition imposed by consent on Martin Thrower was also reported in today’s East Anglian Daily Times under the headline (in the print edition), “Rector struck off after voyeurism conviction for filming men in toilets”:

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