Fawley Court Campaign – For Your Freedom And Ours

Fawley Court

Fawley CourtToday I got an e-mail from Polonia Restituta association, which appeals to the independent press and human rights organisations in order to condemn Polish Catholic Congregation of Marian Fathers in London for selling Fawley Court. The palace was bought in 1953 thanks to donations made by Polish community in the UK and overseas. Prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill funded a modern church. Unfortunately, Marian Fathers decided to close down the school for Polish boys in 1986 (Divine Mercy College) and to sell the whole property in 2008. The decision caused a great controversy in the Polish community, because many people accused the priests of conversion of funds… Below you can read the whole letter from Polonia Restituta association:

Dear Pawel,

We write to you as victims of serious international organised crime.

For the last 4 years the Polish community in the UK has been ceaselessly campaigning in order to bring to justice the Catholic Congregation of the Marian Fathers, who sold, in breach of trust, the property that was purchased in 1953 and maintained for many decades through the public donations of the Polish community. This unique property is known as Fawley Court and is famous in England for its location and historical, architectural and cultural value. Historical sources say it once housed one of the 13 Illuminati families, the Freeman family.

The Marian Fathers had minor equitable interest in the property, with the Polish Community being the major financial contributor and beneficiary. In 1956 the magazine Sodalis Marianus explicitly reported that the Marian Fathers were able to collect merely £2000 of almost £11,000 needed to purchase the property. The remaining sum came from public donations and a loan granted by the Temperance Building Society. The aim was to establish a school for Polish boys, which indeed came into existence in 1954 under name of the Divine Mercy College. The mortgage on the property was repaid in the 1960s thanks to the Association of Polish Combatants. The building was restored, after being used as a training camp by the Army during WWII, and further parcels of land were later purchased by the Poles and entrusted to the Marian Fathers.

The land became a nest for the Polish community and in 1969 received a blessing from Karol Wojtyla (future Pope John Paul II). A uniquely designed church of St Anne was founded on the site in 1971 by a member of the Polish Royal Family, Prince Radziwill. The church and adjacent burial ground were consecrated by the Catholic Bishop in 1973 to serve purposes connected with the spiritual life of the Polish Catholic community in exile.

A museum, named after the prominent priest and headteacher of the Divine Mercy Collage, F. Jarzebowski was opened to the public in 1982, housing many valuable historical artefacts, including armoury, manuscripts, paintings, ceramics etc., some of which were over 2000 years old.

Shortly after the death of the Polish Pope in 2004, the Marian Fathers initiated informal discussions with the Polish government and the Holy See on the proposed sale of the property, without consulting the Polish community.

In spite of the protests and appeals from the community, the property was put on sale in 2008, by way of informal tender. The bid was won by property developer, Mr Butler-Creagh, who shortly thereafter met with a Jewish heiress and socialite, Ms Aida Hersham, ex-wife of Mr Gary Hersham (managing director of the Mayfair-based Beauchamp Estates and chairman of the British friends of Haifa University) and agreed to let her ‚step into his shoes’ for the alleged £5m. In order to remain behind the scenes, Ms Hersham set up a company to purchase Fawley Court. Cherrilow Limited was registered in Jersey in December 2008, with the assistance of an off-shore law company, Mourant Ozannes, which, interestingly, also advised on the legal aspects of the establishment of the Resource Eastern European Equity Partners I, L.P.(the „REEEP Fund”), a private equity fund targeting mid-cap agribusinesses in Poland, as well as in other EU member states in Central and South-Eastern Europe.

As Ms Hersham and Mr Butler – Creagh fell out over the £5m agreement and the case ended up in the Royal Courts of Justice in 2011, the Polish community was given an opportunity to learn of the murky background of the sale of their property. So, it all surfaced: accusations of dishonesty, misrepresentations and forgeries on both sides. The barrister acting for Mr Butler Creagh suggested that there is a blueprint in the way certain properties are acquired and insinuated that Ms Hersham had set up a fraudulent trust in order to purchase Fawley Court. One of the witnesses, Mr Dudley referred to the purchase price as an ‚absolute steal’. Despite the property being a Grade I listed building, there was no independent valuation of Fawley Court, even for the purposes of the judicial proceedings. During negotiations between the Marian Fathers and Mr Bulter-Creagh, the purchase price was hugely reduced from initial £22,5m to £16,5m, with £3,5m to be retained until all the graves of the Poles are removed from Fawley Court and an application for rights of way quashed.

Only in 2010 did the Marian Fathers spend £289,692.00 on legal expenses in pursuit of their fraudulent agenda. In accordance with the Marian Father’s accounts submitted to the Charity Commission in 2010, the proceeds from the sale were to be allocated in the Philippines, Rwanda, Cameroon and Belarus, in breach of the cy-pres doctrine, which provides that trust funds must be allocated ‚as near as possible’ to the intention of the original settler. The same document stated further that £4m was donated by the Marian Fathers to Institutio per le Opere di Religione (commonly known as the Vatican Bank) and £1m was donated to Curia Generalizia Dei Padri Mariani. A Letter of appeal was sent by the Polish community to Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, emphasising that land was blessed by his predecessor to serve spiritual purposes, but no positive response has ever come back.

Meanwhile, further criminal offences were reported to take place at Fawley Court. Thames Valley Police were informed in 2010 of missing funds collected for the Apostolate Building (never erected), the removal and illegal disposal of some of the museum’s artefacts and the illegal removal of urns from St Anne’s Church, conducted without licence. The requests for an investigation were stonewalled, with the British police and Ministry of Justice stating: ‚no crime was committed’.

Contrary to the Marian Fathers assertions that all exhumations were conducted in accordance with appropriate rites, during the criminal trial in High Wycombe Magistrate Court, in October 2012, Ms Hersham’s bodyguard, Mr Eric Sekwalor, charged with racially assaulting Polish protesters on Whitsun in 2011, admitted being asked by the priests to remove the urns with human remains from St Anne’s Church. This was done without the exhumation licence, which makes it a criminal offence. Mr Sekwalor, when asked for his current occupation, stated he had been supervising the trade of the assault rifles, AK47s, in the South Pacific.

An endless correspondence has been ongoing with the UK Charity Commission over allegations of breach of trust, maladministration of the trust property and other illicit activities but the Commission has refused to issue a section 8 enquiry, claiming to have ‚no regulatory interest’. This is scandalous but in line with the ‚tradition’ of the Charity Commission’s non- interference with big charities. Political influences over the chairmen of the institution which regulates over 180,000 charities in the UK, are also well known, with the press writing recently about the controversial appointment of Mr Showcross as a new head.

Of further serious concern is the position of the judiciary. In the case of the removal of the remains of an almost sainted 14-year old boy, Witus Orlowski, from the Marian Fathers’ property in Hereford (also put on sale), Worcester Crown court acquitted F. Jasinski (one of the Fawley Court trustees), charged with illegal exhumation, stating that ‚there is no evidence that the bones were human’. For some strange reason the case wasn’t listed and the campaigners missed the hearing. It seems that the court was too embarrassed to confront the community with such absurd and insulting reasoning.

The problem worsens if we take a look at the approach of the UK Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court with regards to the exhumation of F. Jarzebowski, a prominent priest and teacher, who ran the Divine Mercy College for Polish boys, until his death in 1964 and whose last wish was to be buried in Fawley Court.

In 2009 the Secretary of State for Justice issued an exhumation licence, upon the application of the Marian Fathers, who claimed to be the deceased’s ‚next of kin’, wishing to remove their Brother to a cemetery in Henley, so that he could re-unite with his former Brothers. F. Jarzebowski’s nearest blood relative, Ms Rudewicz, Vicar Delegate of the Polish Catholic Mission and Polish Catholic community in the UK opposed the exhumation on numerous legitimate grounds, yet the Court of Appeal, presided on first occasion by Lady Justice Hallett and on second occasion by Lord Neuberger (currently, president of the Supreme Court), accepted that the licence was lawful. The Poles who attended the hearing, most of whom were elderly people, left the courtroom in humiliation.

The application for permission to appeal was lodged in the Supreme Court in May 2012 and three non-profit organisations intervened, on different grounds. The intervening parties asserted that the UK exhumation law is not properly regulated and discriminates on the grounds of religion. This is because of the archaic interpretation of the Burial Act 1857. The exhumations from the graves consecrated in accordance with the rites of the Anglican Church are governed by the consistory courts whilst all other exhumations (e.g. from the graves consecrated in accordance with the rites of the Roman Catholic Church) fall under secular powers of the Secretary of State for Justice, who is not obliged to apply the presumption of non-disturbance of human remains when granting the exhumation licence. This means that some graves receive more protection than others depending on whether they were consecrated in accordance with the rites of the Anglican Church.

Instead of referring the case to a public hearing, the Supreme Court decided, in secrecy, for the application to be refused, stating that the application did not raise an arguable point of general public importance. The intervening parties were not notified of the decision.

Subsequently, on 31st August 2012 the Marian Fathers removed the grave of F. Jarzebowski from the burial ground in Fawley Court, without notifying the nearest relative and the community. The fact that they did not even erect a cross on the grave (sic!) makes it hard to believe that they are indeed a Christian congregation.

After scrutinising the decision making process of the Supreme Court, the Polish community submitted, on 14th December 2012, a last application to set aside the decision of the Supreme Court and refer the case to a public hearing. The application was made on grounds of breach of art 3 and art 6 (1) of the European Convention of Human Rights, that is on the basis of degrading treatment of the Polish community by application of institutional racism and breach of procedural fairness by failing to refer the case to a public hearing, lack of intelligible and adequate reasons for the decision, and lack of notification and public pronouncement of the decision. A further allegation was made that these faults were the result of ethnic and religious bias on the part of Lord Neuberger. An allegation of bias also concerned Lord Sumption who, due to his limited judicial experience and affiliations with Russian oligarchs, should automatically be disqualified from the post. Finally, the conflict of interest was exposed with regards to Ms Mandy Andrade, a former employee of Mourant Ozannes, who qualified as a solicitor of the Supreme Court in 2010 and whose signature appears on Cherrilow’s (i.e. the Fawley Court’s purchaser’s) memorandum of association.

The Polish community have been writing numerous letters of appeal to the members of the UK government and Her Majesty the Queen for the last 4 years and have received nothing but courtesy replies. This is despite the fact that a few yards away from the British Parliament, by the river Thames, stands a monument erected in commemoration of the Battle of Britain, in which Poles played such a significant part, shedding blood for the freedom of the British people. It is not irrelevant that after the war, it was Polish pilots who helped the Polish community to acquire Fawley Court.

The way the Fawley Court affair has been handled by the British authorities has been a test for the condition of its democracy and justice, and so far this test has been failed. The UK establishment appears to support the agendas of secret international associations of criminal character, which ceaselessly endeavour to corrupt both the Labour and Conservative parties. Meanwhile, Great Britain’s most devoted friends and WWII allies are targeted and victimised.

It must be emphasised that this is not the first time Great Britain has served the Poles with bitter treatment. During the Yalta Conference Winston Churchill consented to territorial changes in the east of Poland and accepted the communist-controlled Lublin government, in breach of art. 2 and art. 3 of the Atlantic Charter. As a reaction many of the Polish officers serving under British command committed suicide. It seems that the UK’s policy towards Poland, which is characterised by injustice and unfairness, has not much changed.

Similarly, the Vatican has never favoured Polish independence with the exception of the outstanding pontificate of John Paul II. The death of the Polish Pope and the back up of the British establishment were therefore crucial to the Marian Fathers’ elaborate plan to deceive and defraud the Polish community.

Having exhausted all possible routes of complaint we have now no other choice but to appeal to the independent press and human rights organisations to stand up for the victims (donors and beneficiaries of Fawley Court being mostly members of the Anglo-Polish community) and make this case public, whilst the application in the Supreme Court is pending. We believe it is not only in the interests of the Anglo-Polish community but in the interests of the whole international community to prosecute institutional injustice, before some other group falls victim to it.

(Further documentary evidence will be sent upon request).

We rely on your support.

POLONIA RESTITUTA
3rd Floor
36 Langham Street
Westminster
W1W 7AP
United Kingdom

O autorze

Paweł Rogaliński

Paweł Rogaliński jest dziennikarzem niezależnym, publicystą i blogerem. Jest też laureatem licznych międzynarodowych konkursów dziennikarskich. Od 2011 roku pełni funkcję Rzecznika Prasowego Stowarzyszenia Demokratycznego 1937. Ukończył trzy kierunki studiów na Uniwersytecie Łódzkim: stosunki międzynarodowe: nauki polityczne, zarządzanie oraz filologię angielską. Obecnie przygotowuje w Londynie rozprawę doktorską.

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