This has just been sent by someone concerned with the Briden Report on Bishop Bell:“The final element of the process is its consideration by the Deciding Officer, appointed by the Church, who will make … decisions [on] information that he has at his disposal, as submitted by the various legal representatives. In terms of publication of the various documents, that will be a matter for the Church of England and, I expect, that that decision will be made in January or February  when the legal process has been completed. I’m sure that the decision will be made public but I will advise you as soon as I am made aware, in any event”Invitations have now been sent out for Chichester’s ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ event at George Bell House/4 Canon Lane next month (Feb 4). RSVP soon SVP as the Bonhoeffer Room only holds a max of 30.Sandra Saer will act as Chair and Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson will be one of the Keynote Speakers.
This Christmas I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Her name is Mrs Barbara Whitley.
More than three years ago, the Church of England publicly accused her beloved long-dead uncle of the filthy crime of child sex abuse.
The charge was based on the word of a single accuser, more than half a century after the supposed offence. The Church had presumed his guilt and made no serious effort to discover the truth. Key living witnesses were neither sought, found nor interviewed. A senior bishop admitted soon afterwards that they were actually not convinced the claim was true. Yet by some mysterious process, a number of newspapers and BBC stations, all on the same day, felt safe in confidently pronouncing that Barbara’s uncle had been a disgusting paedophile. No ifs or buts.
Who told them?
A later inquiry would show that this miserable episode was based on nothing more than a chaotic, sloppy kangaroo court. One of this country’s most distinguished lawyers, Lord Carlile, tore the case against Barbara’s uncle to shreds. He said there would have been no chance of a conviction on the evidence available, and made mincemeat of the shambolic committee that had published the original allegation.
After delaying the release of this inquiry for weeks, Justin Welby’s church eventually published it.
But did it admit its mistake and restore the reputation of Barbara Whitley’s wrongly defamed uncle?
Nope. Mr Welby, in defiance of all the rules of British justice, sulkily insisted that a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over the name of Barbara’s uncle. Thus, just as she might have been able to rejoice that her relative’s name had at last been cleared, the Head of the Established Church made it his personal business to prevent this.
And then, a few weeks later, another supposed allegation against her uncle was said to have been made. Why then? What was it? Who had made it? Nobody would say, but it served to stifle potential criticism of Mr Welby at the General Synod of the Church of England, which was about to begin. Details of the second allegation remain a secret. After nearly a year, Mr Welby’s church (which has a bad record of sitting on reports that it doesn’t like) still hasn’t come up with its conclusions. Yet Sussex Police, given the same information, dropped their investigations into the matter after a few short weeks.
It all looks a bit as if someone is trying to save someone’s face. But the cruelty to Barbara Whitley, who was 91 when this horrible saga began, is appalling. Who cares about some prelate’s pride (a sin in any case) when Mrs Whitley could be spared any more pain?
Because the cruelty to Mrs Whitley seems to me to be so shocking in a supposedly Christian organisation, I have deliberately left till last that the object of these accusations is the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.
Bell was, as people who knew him have told me, a kind, scrupulously honest, courageous man. He was, most notably, a beloved friend of the German Christians who fought against Hitler and a brave critic of the cruelty of war. I sometimes wonder if modern bishops and archbishops are afraid of being compared with him. They have reason to be. In the meantime, Mr Welby’s church should end Mrs Whitley’s agony.
Does anyone really doubt that, if the archbishop wanted to, he could end the whole business today?
~ Peter Hitchens
4 Canon Lane / George Bell House – Chichester
It would seem that there are significant different differences between the rooms – with the better rooms unsurprisingly in demand – so early booking is advised…NOTE:
Due to unsubstantiated allegations, George Bell House has been renamed 4 Canon Lane. However, in the absence of any actual proof, court judgement or any admission of liability on behalf of the Church of England, it is expected that 4 Canon Lane will have its previous name of George Bell House restored.
Without proof or independent substantive evidence, there is no justification to excise the extraordinary legacy of Bishop George Bell or his memory…
The Church of England also seems to need reminding that in the United Kingdom a man is innocent until actually proven guilty.
Although it is for [Dean and] Chapter to decide, it is expected 4 Canon Lane will revert back to its former title of George Bell House following an Extraordinary meeting of the Chichester Cathedral Council on 17 January 2018.
Amen to that.
17 November 2017 4:24 PM
Publish the Carlile Report Now! We have waited long enough
I intend to ask, every day until it is published, why the report which the Church of England commissioned into its handling of an allegation against the late Bishop George Bell, has not been published. The report, which is highly critical of Church behaviour, was delivered to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Saturday 7th October 2017. Once again, I must explain why I am devoting so much of my life to clearing the name of a long-dead Bishop. Here goes.
The matter is strikingly similar in some ways to that of Lord Bramall, disgracefully accused in conditions of total publicity of appalling offences on the basis of scanty evidence. But Lord Bramall, being still alive, was eventually able to secure a proper retraction (thoihgh his wife did not live to see it). George Bell, a man (in my view) of comparable integrity only has us to stand up for him.
Those who wish to know why Bell, a rare courageous voice in this or any time, matters, might wish to read this full account of the case.
Much more, including a detailed and professional review of the case by experts, can be found here
Many weeks ago, the distinguished lawyer Lord Carlile of Berriew delivered a report to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This report has still not been published, and the Church can give no adequate explanation as to why it has not been.
I have good reason to believe that the report is pretty severe on the Church’s procedures. This is English understatement. I have little doubt that George Bell was publicly condemned on the basis of a procedure that would have shamed a banana republic.
Many people are affected by this, perhaps most shockingly the Guardian newspaper, which reported the allegations against Bishop Bell as if they were proven charges and has never made any attempt to put this right, though I have pressed them to do so through their own internal procedures (the Guardian does not belong to any outside regulatory body). The Times did so slightly less prominently. A reasonable summary of the coverage is here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35971308
My attempts to get the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) to condemn their reporting also failed. I maintain that these reports would have been considered gravely inaccurate had Bishop Bell been alive. Why then were they not inaccurate just because he is dead? The BBC, surprisingly, did admit they had been wrong to accuse George Bell of ‘proven abuse’ and publicly regretted it, though they made no on-air correction.
The ‘Argus’ of Brighton and the Chichester Observer, while they have given me space in which to plead George Bell’s case, have continued to treat the matter as settled and George Bell as guilty. Horrible, Stalinoid things have followed – a school and a school school house have been renamed, portraits have been taken down (and in one casae eventually restored) and flowers removed form Bell’s memorial in Chichester Cathedral (though this has now ceased, and the monument, once defaced by a nasty little notice about ‘safeguarding’, is now rarely without flowers at its base). In some ways worst, George Bell House, given to the Church in his memory by a group of Anglican nuns who loved George Bell, and named in his honour by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has had Bell’s name stripped from it. Mentions of him have also been removed from a guidebook to Chichester cathedral.
The Carlile report was the result of many months of work. It is a review into the process which led to the public condemnation, as a child-molester, of the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.
George Bell is not to be confused with Bishop Peter Ball of Lewes, convicted of serious sexual offences a short time ago. I mention this because I have received more than one letter from persons who have made this confusion. I sometimes wonder if those who condemned George Bell realised that this confusion would be made.
Trying to clear George Bell’s name was difficult. The Church had recruited the Sussex Police to say that they would have arrested the Bishop had he been alive. Many ignorant people thought this was evidence of his guilt, though it is no such thing, and their foolish conclusions only show how poorly we are now taught the rules of our own liberty.
This was an absurdity. He had been dead since 1958 and the alleged offences supposedly dated from even earlier than that. The only evidence they had was a single uncorroborated accusation.
It is interesting that this is all it takes to get Sussex Police to arrest someone, when he has been dead for 57 years and there is no conceivable action they can take against him. For Sussex Police are among those many forces which claim they already have far too much to do.
But the Police have since explained that it was the Church which out them up to this. Did the Church realise that so many people would be persuaded by this ‘arrest’ of a corpse that George Bell was guilty as charged? I wonder.
The same Church was very hard on anyone who criticised its action. The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd Martin Warner, complained : ‘The presence of strident voices in the public arena which have sought to undermine the survivor’s claims has added in this case to the suffering of the survivor and her family.’
Apart from being prejudicial, by using the term ‘survivor’ instead of the neutral expression ‘complainant’, this seeks to use the complainant as a sort of human shield. It would be ridiculous if no objections to an allegation could be voiced lest the upset the person making the allegations. Justice of all kinds would cease, and every defendant, criminal and civil, would be guilty as charged.
One of his episcopal colleagues (who has since apologised after I engaged in a long struggle to explain to him that this was his Christian duty) actually claimed in the House of Lords that supporters of George Bell had said ‘hurtful things’ about his accuser, a flat untruth. For reasons which escape me, nothing has been done to amend the record of the House of Lords itself. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and I intend to return to this once the Carlile Report is eventually published. It is one of many unfinished tasks, which will be easier once this whole matter is in the light of day. There is no good excuse for further delay in publication.
Lorna Ashworth resigns from General Synod over ‘revisionism’
10 NOVEMBER 2017
A CONSERVATIVE Evangelical, Lorna Ashworth, resigned from the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod on Thursday in a letter that condemned “an agenda of revisionism . . . masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement’”.
Mrs Ashworth, a member of Reform and the GAFCON UK Task Force, called in July for an alternative Anglican structure in Britain, similar to the Anglican Church in North America (News, 28 July).
In her resignation letter, published on Friday, she described “an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness” at the General Synod. “Instead, an agenda of revisionism is masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement’. In fact, ‘good disagreement’ and ‘unity’ have trumped the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.”
The letter continues: “In light of this revisionist agenda and the heretical teaching that comes with it, I am no longer willing to sit around the table, pretending that we, as a governing body of the Church of England, are having legitimate conversations about mission.
”I refuse to be mistaken as one participating in the fanciful notion of ‘good disagreement’. As such, I am standing down from the Archbishops’ Council with immediate effect and all subsequent bodies, including the General Synod.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said that he was “sad” that she had decided to resign.
“Her prayerfulness, magnanimity, and her grasp of all matters in hand has been a great asset to us all,” he said. “Those who elected her were of the view that she had much to give to the working of the Council, especially in the area of Renewal and Reform.
“However, I do not share her doubts that the Church of England will be part of God’s renewal of the Christian faith in this nation. I am convinced that the Church of England remains faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and will move forward rooted in the Christian faith as we have received it.
“I share Lorna’s passion to make disciples in all nations and her conviction that God will continue to build his Church in this nation. I certainly will miss her in our partnership in the gospel.”
Speaking in the Synod in July, Mrs Ashworth expressed concern that it had become “unable to articulate the saving message of Jesus Christ” (News, 14 July). She warned: “Until we have a House of Bishops full of shepherds who stand only for the truth . . . our work can only offer confusion and plurality to a lost and dying world.” She praised the “foresight” of GAFCON in appointing Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop (News, 4 July, 2017).
Later that month, she was among the signatories to a letter to The Daily Telegraph in July, requesting an alternative Anglican structure in Britain (News, 28 July). Noting the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the letter sought “a similar renewal of orthodox Anglicanism and of Anglican structures in these islands”. Meetings to this end were under way.
She was among those listed one year ago as members of the GAFCON UK Task Force (News, 25 November).
Mrs Ashworth has represented the diocese of Chichester on the Synod for 12 years, and was elected to the Archbishops’ Council last year.
The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, also expressed sadness at her decision to resign, made “because she does not want to be drawn into compromise with those who seek to revise the plain teaching of Scripture. I pay tribute to her sincerity and courage.”
Oct 22 2017 – 2nd Anniversary of the Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)
“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds
“Presumption of innocence” – innocent until proven guilty – is a high standard of justice. “On the balance of probabilities” – guessing – is a low standard of justice. Bishop Bell was judged by those with a low standard of justice. This led to a miscarriage of justice. Restoration of justice is therefore required by those with a high standard of justice” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society
What does proof on a balance of probabilities mean?
The civil standard of proof is proof on a balance of probabilities. The criminal standard is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This article deals with civil standards of proof. Saying something is proven on a balance of probabilities means that it is more likely than not to have occurred. It means that it is probable, i.e., the probability that some event happens is more than 50%. So mathematically proof on a balance of probabilities is 50.1% likelihood of something having occurred.
A lawyer I once knew explained it this way. You see the scales of justice. They are evenly balanced. Both sides are the same height. But if one side has the weight of a feather added to it, causing it to go down and the other side to go up. Now that side with the weight of a feather has won. Proof greater than that is not required. Simply a balancing of both sides seeing which side has the stronger proof.
Quotes from cases where judges have commented on the civil standard of proof follow:
McIver v. Power,  P.E.I.J. No. 4, Prince Edward Island Supreme Court – Trial Division, MacDonald C.J.T.D.,
5 In any civil case the plaintiff must prove their case on a balance of probabilities if they are to succeed. This means that the plaintiff must prove that his facts tip the scale in his favor even if it is only a 51% probability that he is correct.
F.H. v. McDougall,  S.C.J. No. 54:
44 Put another way, it would seem incongruous for a judge to conclude that it was more likely than not that
an event occurred, but not sufficiently likely to some unspecified standard and therefore that it did not occur.
As Lord Hoffman explained in In re B at para. 2:
If a legal rule requires a fact to be proved (a “fact in issue”), a judge or jury must
decide whether or not it happened. There is no room for a finding that it might have
happened. The law operates a binary system in which the only values are zero and one.
The fact either happened or it did not. If the tribunal is left in doubt, the doubt is resolved
by a rule that one party or the other carries the burden of proof. If the party who bears
the burden of proof fails to discharge it, a value of zero is returned and the fact is treated
as not having happened. If he does discharge it, a value of one is returned and the fact
is treated as having happened.
In my view, the only practical way in which to reach a factual conclusion in a civil case is to decide whether it
is more likely than not that the event occurred.
 In the result, I would reaffirm that in civil cases there is only one standard of proof and that is proof on a balance of probabilities.
Snell v. Farrell,  2 S.C.R. 311 is a medical malpractice case and the issue was whether the plaintiff required a firm medical opinion to establish a causal link between her surgical outcome and the defendant doctor’s actions. Sopinka J., speaking for the Supreme Court of Canada, commented on the difference between medical certainty and legal certainty. He commented that “near certainty” is the medical standard of causation while the legal standard requires only a 51% probability. He concluded that a firm medical opinion is not required to establish causation in law. Rather, causation is a question to be determined by weighing all of the evidence in order to determine whether a causal link has been established on a balance of probabilities.
Veerasingam v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2012 FC 241 — Federal Court of Canada
. . .paras 29 that the term “balance of probabilities” was equivalent to “more likely than not”, but with two distinct steps involved as to the burden of proof and legal test. […] to be persuasive evidence of that risk “on a balance of probabilities” or to show that it was “more likely than not.” The Board uses this terminology throughout its decision. […] As demonstrated, the Board was mindful of its role in considering the evidence of “risk” to the Applicant on a balance of probabilities. . .
Roseanne Conley v. Keel Construction, 2005 NBQB 263
 On the question of liability the onus of proof must be met by the claimant, Mrs. Conley and the standard of proof is that of a balance of probabilities, i.e. is it more likely than not that the incident occurred in the manner she alleges.
Bhullar v. I.C.B.C., 2009 BCPC 44
But the burden of proof here is not like a criminal charge, beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof is on the balance of probabilities, more likely than not. . . While I have an expert opinion, which I accept, that this car was either driven with a key or towed, for the reasons I have already gone into, I do not find this vehicle was towed, which means the likelihood is, more likely than not, balance of probabilities proven the vehicle was driven with a key. The only people that had keys were the claimants. Nobody else. If that is true, which seems to be true on the facts, then again more likely than not, Mr. Bhullar was involved in the theft and burning of the vehicle.
Mitcham v. Canada, 2003 FCA 340 Federal Court of Appeal
. . . While Mr. Mitcham is now diagnosed as having fibromyalgia symptoms, the Board, weighing the evidence on a balance probabilities, held that he was more likely than not capable of regularly . . .
R. v. Oakes,  1 SCR 103 — 1986-02-28 Supreme Court of Canada
. . . in such a case and it is sufficient if the court considers that upon the evidence before it it is more likely than not that the fact does not exist. . . . The test is the same as that applied in civil proceedings: the balance of probabilities. . .
Canada (Minister of National Revenue) c. Fabrication GMCA Inc., 2002 FCT 1260 Federal Court of Canada
. . . (3) The evidence must show, on a balance of probability, that it is more likely than not that collection would be jeopardized by delay. . . Lamer J. for her to conclude that on a balance of probabilities it was more likely than not that giving the respondent further time could compromise the collection in question. . .
R. v. Turner, 2004 BCSC 1778, Supreme Court of British Columbia
. . .  The standard of proof in civil trials is proof on a balance of probabilities; namely, proof that something is probable or more likely than not. . . . . In criminal trials, such as this trial, the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is higher than the civil standard of proof on a balance of probabilities. . .
So you can see the test of proof in a civil case is whether it is more likely than not, that something occurred. No more, no less.