A High Court judge has ruled that the founder and former trustees of the disbanded charity Kids Company should not be barred from holding directors
A High Court judge has ruled that the founder and former trustees of the disbanded charity Kids Company should not be barred from holding directorships.
Mrs Justice Falk rejected a claim by the Official Receiver (OR) that Camila Batmanghelidjh and seven board members were “unfit” to hold office as a result of their handling of the organisation.
The judge added that Kids Company, which supported young people in London and Bristol, might not have been wound up in 2015 were it not for “unfounded allegations” of child abuse at the charity.
At the end of a 10-week trial, the High Court dismissed the OR’s claim, instead praising the defendants for their hard work and professionalism.
She singled Ms Batmanghelidjh out for her “enormous dedication” to vulnerable young people and described the trustees as “highly impressive and dedicated individuals”.
“It would be unfortunate if the events in the focus of this decision were allowed to eclipse those achievements,” Mrs Justice Falk said.
Reacting to the judgment, Ms Batmanghelidjh expressed her gratitude to the judge for giving them “the opportunity to set the record straight”.
“I hope this judgment will be the first step in refuting the many lies that have been told and banishing the false myths,” she added.
Ms Batmanghelidjh then spoke of her regret for children left unaided after the collapse of the charity, before thanking donors, volunteers and staff for their support.
A statement from the seven ex-trustees read: “Kids Company was forced to close in August 2015 following what the judge records as ‘unfounded allegations’ of child abuse, which made fundraising from private and government sources impossible.
“We are pleased that finally the facts have been gathered and assessed in a court of law, and that Mrs Justice Falk has exonerated both the former trustees and Kids Company chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh.”
Before its closure, the charity was highly regarded and was backed by public figures such as the former prime minister David Cameron and the comedian Michael McIntyre.
Additional reporting by PA