February 24 2018 – “Proof, not reputation, is crux of Bell affair” – Church Times – Letter – Marilyn and Peter Billingham

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/23-february/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-abuse-nuclear-disarmament-brexit-border-control-bell

Proof, not reputation, is crux of Bell affair

From Marilyn and Peter Billingham

Sir, — Canon Angela Tilby (Comment, 16 February) is indeed right to say in her column that those fighting for Justice in the George Bell case would be naïve to rest the case for his defence on his fine reputation. But they don’t.

The George Bell Group, the theologians, the lawyers, historians, academics, journalists, and, indeed, the independent reviewer Lord Carlile QC together present an overwhelming case that the evidence against Bishop Bell would not find its way to the criminal court at all were he to be alive.

Further, the evidence does not even meet the lower standard of proof, “the balance of probabilities”, required by the civil courts, now that he has passed away. In English law, he is innocent. The evidence would be too weak to take to court at all. Character references would not be required. Nevertheless, since when have character references been inadmissible in a court of English law?

MARILYN BILLINGHAM
PETER BILLINGHAM
Chichester

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