January 20 2018 – “Justice for Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – His Honour Anthony Nicholl


Daily Telegraph – Letters – 20 Jan 2018 – Press Reader


SIR – In English law, a superior court that finds the decision of a lower court fundamentally flawed has one of two courses to take. It can either quash the decision outright or remit it to the lower court to reconsider in accordance with the principles of law.

In their letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury (report, January 18), seven academics have pointed out that the Church of England prevented Lord Carlile from deciding on the guilt of George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester. However, that behaviour does not enable it to escape the implication of Lord Carlile’s finding that the process, that led the Core Group – charged with investigating the allegation – to impugn Bishop Bell, was fundamentally flawed.

If the Church wishes to act justly it has two options. If it is to maintain that “a cloud” remains over Bishop Bell’s reputation, it must set up a fresh independent review into the truth or otherwise of the claims made by his accuser “Carol”, to be conducted in accordance with the correct principles of procedure.. It must abide by the result. However, if the Church is not prepared to go to the expense of such a review, it must accept that the Core Group’s finding of guilt cannot stand – and say so.

It seems likely that a further review would be a waste of money. The Church should therefore be glad to dispel the cloud wrongly cast upon the reputation of a great man.


His Honour Anthony Nicholl – Stratford-upon-avon, Warwickshire

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