Belfast Telegraph

Professor denies 'a vendetta' against Alder Hey organs scandal man

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

A university professor has claimed he was harassed, threatened and punished after raising concerns about a fellow academic who had been involved in the Alder Hey organs scandal.

Former University of Ulster employee Christian Holscher told an industrial tribunal he was unfairly treated after he made a complaint against fellow academic Professor Charles Vyvyan Howard.

Before joining the university in 2005, Prof Howard had a role in events at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.

In 1999 it was revealed that body parts of dead children were "harvested" for research in secret.

Prof Holscher said that in 2009 they worked on a funding application. He claimed that in 2010 he found Howard added two "illegal" experiments to the bid.

He added that in March 2010 he became aware of Professor Howard's role in the Alder Hey Children's Hospital scandal.

A few months later Prof Holscher approached external bodies and told them about Prof Howard's past work at Alder Hey.

Prof Holscher was subsequently warned by the university to cease his "vendetta".

At his first disciplinary hearing Prof Holscher was found guilty of carrying out a vendetta.

A year later, Prof Holscher was summoned for a second disciplinary hearing over different issues, where he was found guilty and demoted to senior lecturer.

Prof Holscher alleges this was linked to his initial disclosure.

Prof Holscher was asked by UU's counsel Barry Mulqueen why he did not appeal this verdict.

The professor said: "I thought the situation would be resolved, but that was a mistake."

Counsel told the tribunal if Prof Holscher felt as strong as he said he did he would have appealed it.

Mr Mulqueen put it to the professor that nowhere in his statement had he detailed incidents of an alleged campaign against him.

Prof Holscher replied: "There is no direct evidence."

Mr Mulqueen said: "You have been trying to manufacture a case based on assumptions without fact. It's part of your personal vendetta against Prof Howard."

Prof Holscher responded: "This is nothing to do with Howard. I raised serious allegations and this is about how the university dealt with this."

The tribunal continues.

BACKGROUND

2009 – Prof Holscher raises allegations about the conduct of Prof Howard.

Jan 16, 2012 – A disciplinary hearing charged Prof Holscher with pursuing a vendetta against Howard.

Jan 8, 2013 – In a second disciplinary hearing Holscher demoted from professor to senior lecturer.

Jan 15, 2013 – Holscher interviewed for a post in Lancaster.

April 15 2013 – Holscher indicated by email to a colleague he was leaving for a new job as a professor in Lancaster.

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