Exoneration will banish the false myths surrounding Kids Company, the charity's founder has said.
The High Court today dismissed the case brought by the Official Receiver against Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder and former chief executive of the charity, and seven other trustees at the time it closed abruptly in 2015.
The OR had been attempting to secure disqualification from senior positions for periods of up to six years against the trustees and Batmanghelidjh, who it argued was a de facto director in her position as chief executive.
After the verdict was announced, Batmanghelidjh said in a statement: “I hope this judgment will be the first step in refuting the many lies that have been told and banishing the false myths.
“My regret is that many thousands of children whom we supported were left unassisted and vulnerable once our service was withdrawn, and that there were many others who never got a chance to receive help. To them, my heart goes out.”
Batmanghelidjh thanked donors, staff and volunteers for their support and said she would continue to campaign for the rights of children.
Part of the OR’s case was that the trustees ran an unsustainable business model and should have been able to see the charity was heading for financial meltdown.
Those trustees included Alan Yentob, the former BBC creative director who chaired Kids Company for 18 years, and Richard Handover, the former chair and chief executive of the retailer WHSmith.
A statement on behalf of the seven former trustees welcomed the decision by Justice Falk, who concluded she was “wholly satisfied” that the disqualification was unproven and unwarranted.
It said: “Mrs Justice Falk said that the purpose of her jurisdiction is to protect the public and went on to say: ‘The public need no protection from these trustees. On the contrary, this is a group of highly impressive and dedicated individuals who selflessly gave enormous amounts of their time to what was clearly a highly challenging trusteeship.’”
Falk also praised the trustees for not walking away when things got difficult and found that the charity might have survived if what turned out to be unfounded claims of abuse involving service users had not been made.
A spokesperson for the Insolvency Service said: “Whenever our evidential and public interest tests are met, we will always endeavour to bring disqualification matters before a court.
“We will consider the contents of the judgment before deciding whether to appeal.”