Church minister’s ex-wife to appeal High Court judge’s ruling
A Norfolk woman is set to appeal after a High Court judge ruled she had conducted an “obsessive campaign” against her clergyman ex-husband and ordered a sale of her home.
Mrs Justice Lieven decided against jailing Jean Gibbs, 60, of Attleborough, Norfolk, last week but ordered a sale of her house so that Methodist minister the Rev Charles Gibbs could raise money to pay legal bills he had run up.
It has since been reported Gibbs will ask Court of Appeal judges to consider the case.
Mr Gibbs, 70, who has been living in the Isles of Scilly, said his ex-wife had repeatedly falsely accused him of abusing their now grown-up son.
He said she had breached judges’ orders not to make such allegations and wanted her to be jailed for contempt of court.
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Mrs Justice Lieven, who analysed the case at recent hearings in the Family Division of the High Court, ruled in his favour but concluded that jailing Gibbs would not halt the “vendetta”.
Another judge had imposed a nine-month jail term, following an earlier contempt application by Mr Gibbs, three years ago.
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Mrs Justice Lieven said Gibbs had appealed against that ruling but two Court of Appeal judges had rejected her challenge.
She said Gibbs had spent four-and-a-half months in jail and had “recommenced” sending emails as soon as she came out.
The judge said she had decided that the best way to protect Mr Gibbs was to publish a ruling which showed “the truth”.
Gibbs had publicised “the most lurid allegations” to as “wide an audience as possible”, she said.
Her behaviour had a “devastating impact” on Mr Gibbs’ quality of life and his ministry, she added.
“I have come to the clear conclusion that Mrs Gibbs’ allegations are not true,” said Mrs Justice Lieven, in a ruling published on August 5.
“She has for many years been convinced of the truth of the allegations and has been conducting an obsessive campaign against her ex-husband.
“She frequently distorts the truth and alleges that various people have believed her when on examination this is not true.”
Mrs Justice Lieven said she was “confident” that jailing Gibbs would not persuade her to end the campaign.
The judge said Mr Gibbs had run up more than £30,000 taking legal action against his ex-wife.