Worker for Scots aid charity jailed for attempted rape

Landmine clearing

 Landmine charity responded swiftly allerting statutory authorities of the incident 

15th October 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

An employee working for a Dumfries-based landmine charity has been jailed for attempted rape in Burma.

The Halo Trust, once backed by Princess Diana and and actress Angeline Joli, said the staff member was off duty and had been dismissed immediately following the conviction in March this year.

Following the incident, the charity also revealed a Cambodia male staff member had been accused of sexual harassment by a female colleague. He was subsequently dismissed, the organisation said. 

Halo, which has 8,500 staff clearing landmines and other weapons from more than 20 countries, said the rape case was reported to the British Embassy, the Department for International Development, the Charity Commission and the Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

It had also offered full co-operation with the police investigation, it said.

A spokeswoman said: “A Burmese staff member was suspended from duties in Myanmar in January 2018 following an allegation of sexual assault when off duty.

 “A court later found him guilty of attempted rape and he was sentenced in March. We informed DFID, the British Embassy and the Charity Commission immediately.”

She added: “In August we received an allegation of sexual harassment made against a Cambodian male employee made by a female Cambodian colleague.

“Following an investigation he was dismissed. A report has been made to the Charity Commission.”

As the Halo Trust works across the UK, it is regulated by the Charity Commission which has now opened an investigation following the attempted rape case.

The Charity Commission said: “We can confirm that The Halo Trust is currently subject to an ongoing regulatory compliance case.

“Among other things, the case is looking into concerns around safeguarding.”

The Scottish charity regulator, OSCR, said: ““Halo Trust is a cross border charity and its lead regulator is the Charity Commission for England and Wales. However, we can confirm that the Halo Trust has reported to us concerning the issues you refer to using our notifiable events system, in line with our expectations of charities in circumstances like this.”

Notifiable events are serious issues flagged up by the charities themselves. OSCR’s guidance says it wants to know about serious incidents that “threaten to have a significant impact on the charity or its assets”. These events could involve allegations of financial impropriety or criminal acts, for example.

OSCR recorded 111 notifiable events in 2017/18 and 108 since April this year.