Tag Archives: Daily Telegraph Letters

March 28 2018 – “Assuming guilt” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Colin Bullen of Tonbridge

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“Assuming guilt”

SIR – The proposition put forward by a parish officer that the maxim of “innocent until proven guilty” should be reversed in matters of church safeguarding (Letters, March 27) is utterly pernicious.

How is anyone to defend themselves against charges to an action that is alleged to have occurred decades before, and is based on no more than the word of one person?

To place the onus of proving innocence on the accused, as opposed to the need for the accuser to prove guilt, is contrary to our most basic freedoms and undermines the rule of law.

Colin Bullen

Tonbridge, Kent

March 27 2018 – “Church safeguarding” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Arthur Varndell of Storrington, West Sussex

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“Church safeguarding”

Sir – I think I may be able to enlighten Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (Letters, March 24) who writes about the case of Bishop Bell, as to the Church of England’s thinking on safeguarding.

At a recent parochial church council meeting in the Chichester diocese, a parish safeguarding officer gave a briefing on the introduction of a programme being trialled in the diocese. Bishop Bell and others were mentioned, along with the stance taken by Archbishop Justin Welby.

The meeting was told that a change of mindset is needed. The old idea that one is “innocent until proven guilty” does not apply when dealing with a safeguarding complaint; the view has to be that there is a case to answer, and the defendant must prove his innocence.

Clearly Lord Carlile was operating under the old rules and Bishop Bell can never comply with the new rules.

In this way, church leaders are able to accept almost all of Lord Carlile’s report but still maintain there is a shadow over Bishop Bell.

Arthur Varndell

Storrington, West Sussex 

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Case for Bishop Bell

Sir – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is not alone in being ashamed of the Church in its handling of child abuse cases in the Diocese of Chichester (report, March 22). So are quite a few others. And some of us would add that we are ashamed of Archbishop Welby too.

At the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing on Wednesday, the Archbishop was questioned about his continuing attack on the late Bishop George Bell, whose reputation has been besmirched by what Lord Carlile, the Church’s own eminent appointee to examine its legal processes, has described as a very misguided rush to judgement on a single accusation of historic child sexual abuse.

The continued anger that the case has aroused has nothing to do with Bishop Bell’s eminent reputation. It has everything to do with the fact that no one has ever been allowed to present a case in his defence.

The recent effort by the family to appoint its own lawyer in a new investigation has been turned down by the Chichester authorities. And once again, the Archbishop missed a chance to affirm his belief in Bishop Bell’s innocence as presumed by the law.

When will the Archbishop have the grace to admit that the Church leaders responsible for handling the George Bell case – including himself – have made the most colossal error of judgement in this instance?

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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[Original submission – before editing]

Dear Editor

It is also our duty to prioritise those falsely accused of sex abuse [“Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety”, Telegraph, Feb 20).

In 2009, football manager Dave Jones wrote a book about his experience – “No Smoke, No Fire” * – which led Judge David Clarke to conclude after the court case:

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong”

In 2015, Bishop George Bell was falsely accused of sex abuse, which led the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to monstrously conclude last month that a “significant cloud” still hangs over this long-dead, venerated Bishop of Chichester – even after a report by Lord Carlile QC.

The words of Judge David Clarke should haunt the present Archbishop.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

 

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley, West Sussex 

RH11 0NN

 

Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only – Very deaf)

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

“No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]