Henley Standard 29.3 #169; fawleycourt Henley Standard 29.3 © fawleycourt
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fawleycourt Henley Standard 29.3

Henley Standard 29.3

Henley Standard 29.03.2012 Priest exhumation case at High Court Comments(0) A BID to block plans to exhume the remains of a Catholic priest in Henley is being heard by the Court of Appeal. Father Jozef Jarzebowski’s remains are interred at Fawley Court, which used to be owned the Marian Fathers, an order of Polish priests to which he belonged. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke granted a licence for the bones to be moved to a cemetery after a clause in the mansion’s sale said the order would lose up to £3.5 million off the agreed price if the remains were not removed. But members of the Polish community claim that Father Jozef, a former teacher and now candidate for beatification, should be left undisturbed in his chosen resting place. The appeal is being brought by Elzbieta Rudewicz, a distant relative of the priest. Her lawyers, led by Michael Fordham QC, argued that Mr Clarke’s decision is an unjustified violation of her human rights and those of supporters in the Polish emigré community. Mr Fordham said legal authority meant there was a “presumption” that a body buried in the Christian tradition would stay where it was laid to rest. The Justice Secretary’s decision to grant the exhumation licence was challenged unsuccessfully in the High Court last year.Lady Justice Hallett dismissed the accusation that the application to move the remains was for “mercenary” reasons, related to the terms of sale of the property. She said the decision would allow the remains to be reunited with other members of his order in death and the public could have access to his grave. Mr Fordham argued it was wrong for Mr Clarke to rely on the issue of ease of public access to visit the grave as a reason justifying the remains being moved. He said: “While it is true that there were letters expressing a desire to visit the grave at Fawley Court, none was in favour of exhumation in order that access could be improved. Had they been, objectors to the licence would instead have been supporters. “It was unjustified and unreasonable for the Secretary of State to rely on public views which resisted relocation to a publicly-accessible cemetery as though they supported it. “The question was whether to grant a licence and allow relocation of the priest’s remains in the interests of public access. The objectors favoured public access, but not at the cost of relocation. Lawyers for Mr Clarke argued that the relocation of the remains was supported by senior members of the Marian Fathers in Poland and Rome and the Bishop of Nottingham, Peter Doyle. They said Mr Clarke had taken account of the objections and was entitled to make his own decision about whether to allow the exhumation. The court will give a decision later

 Komitet Obrony Dziedzictwa Narodowego Fawley Court, , e-mail: savefawley@hotmail.com
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