Tag Archives: Lord Carlile Q.C.

February 16 2018 – “Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile” – BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38632026

Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile

Barry Bennell: Lord Carlile says football failed to protect youngsters from abuse

The Barry Bennell scandal was “brushed under the carpet” by Crewe Alexandra, according to the eminent barrister who prosecuted the serial paedophile in 1998.

Lord Carlile – one of the country’s top legal experts – told the BBC the club at the centre of the case was guilty of “institutional failure” over their former youth coach.

He also fears young footballers were abused because “this danger was not drawn to the attention of a wider public”.

Bennell, 64, who has already received three prison sentences – in 1995, 1998 and 2015 – has been convicted of 43 further charges of child sex abuse by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court. The jury were told of abuse of 12 boys between 1979 and 1990.

In a statement on Thursday, Crewe said the club “was not aware of any sexual abuse by Bennell” until his arrest in Florida in 1994, and that it did not receive any sexual abuse complaint about him “before or during his employment with the club.”

Crewe also said a police investigation found “no evidence to corroborate that the club was aware of Bennell’s offending”.

Chris Unsworth, Micky Fallon and Steven Walters

Bennell, who worked with a number of clubs across the north west of England, including Manchester City and Stoke City, was jailed for nine years in 1998, pleading guilty to 23 specimen charges at Chester Crown Court.

But the prosecuting barrister at the trial, Alex Carlile QC, who was made a life peer in 1999, has now spoken out for the first time about Crewe’s handling of the case.

“I believe the Crewe board should have addressed this issue, and I’d be very interested to see the board minutes of the time because I feel sure the board would have discussed it in some way, but I have the feeling it was brushed under the carpet,” he said.

“What I am satisfied about is that there should have been further inquiry by any club involved, including Crewe Alexandra. I’m surprised I did not read subsequently that Crewe had carried out an inquiry into what had occurred.”

Speaking to the BBC last year, Carlile said Bennell “seemed to me to be the embodiment of the sort of person you wanted no nearer than a million miles from your children”.

Barry Bennell calling card
Bennell’s relationship with Man City remains unclear, but the BBC has obtained what is believed to be a business card that the coach handed out to young players and their parents, describing himself as a the club’s ‘North-West representative’. The BBC cannot verify the authenticity of the card, but if this is what it appears to be, it may show how Bennell used City’s name to lure some of his victims.

League Two club Crewe have been under intense scrutiny over what was known about Bennell since former player Andy Woodward spoke out in November about the abuse he had suffered while a trainee at the club. Since then, other former players who say they were victims of Bennell have come forward.

A former board member at Crewe, Hamilton Smith, has claimed he had warned the club about Bennell’s relationship with young boys in the late 1980s, but the coach was allowed to stay in his job.

Bennell was eventually sacked in 1992 for reasons that have never been made public. Smith also says he asked the FA to investigate the case in 2001, after Bennell was convicted, but was ignored.

“If any senior people at the club knew more than they let on at the time then they should have been open about it,” said Carlile.

“Football coaches had immense power over young boys who they were training and clubs were in the place of parents and it’s quite clear that they didn’t take that position seriously.”

Andy Woodward says ‘justice has been served’

Crewe director of football Dario Gradi, who was the club’s manager from 1983 to 2007, was suspended by the Football Association in November 2016. During Bennell’s trial in 1998 it was revealed that one of the offences happened at Gradi’s house.

John Bowler, who has been chairman of the club since 1987, continues in his role.

“I’m very surprised about the continuity in the club of a number of people who were present at that time,” said Carlile.

“Dario Gradi was a relevant figure in this case. I’m not making any sort of allegation against Dario Gradi, but he was a relevant figure and I think Crewe ought to come clean about the way in which they dealt with this problem, admitting their shortcomings where there were shortcomings.”

Both Gradi and Bowler have denied any wrongdoing, and say the first they knew about Bennell’s crimes was when he was arrested in 1994.

Gradi has said he would “do everything within my power to assist all investigatory authorities” while Crewe announced in November 2016 the club would hold an independent review into how it dealt with historical child sex abuse allegations.

But Carlile has also spoken about his dismay at the lack of interest in the case at the time of Bennell’s earlier conviction.

“I’m absolutely certain that at the time there was institutional failure, and I’m very disappointed that it now appears as a result of a lack of publicity of that case other boys have been abused, because this danger was not drawn to the attention of a wider public,” he said.

“If someone was prosecuting that case today about serious indecency against young boys, some of whom might have stardom as footballers in front of them, it would’ve had blanket press coverage.

“The follow-through by the media would have been huge, and I suspect more complainants would have come forward as a result.

“I’m absolutely certain that if the media and the sport had taken this on as an issue in 1998, a lot of young people would not have been abused in the years that followed.”

Football child sex abuse scandal one of FA’s biggest crises – Greg Clarke

With hundreds of potential victims coming forward, multiple suspects, and many clubs and police forces across the country now investigating, the FA has begun an internal review into the crisis, headed by barrister Clive Sheldon QC.

“The FA inquiry has spluttered into life,” said Carlile, who spent a decade as the government’s terrorism legislation reviewer, and is leading an independent study into how the Church of England handled child abuse accusations.

“There was a change of leadership within almost days, the explanation has never been entirely clear to me, but I think that Clive Sheldon will be a splendid head of that inquiry.

“What we’re talking about is multiple, repeated, horrific crimes and I think the inquiry will have to have a keen intelligence about the way in which crimes of this kind develop.

“The lessons learnt must include explaining to those who run [sports] clubs to be able to anticipate these events and to take child safeguarding measures that will make it much more difficult for these events to happen.

“It’s a huge crisis for sport, it’s a bigger crisis than doping for athletics. It’s a crisis of confidence. It will diminish Britain’s very considerable success in every sport unfortunately, because parents will be more reluctant to allow their children to take part in sports clubs.

“It is going to provoke real difficulties for sports, but the sports have themselves to blame for this to some extent.”

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January 24 2018 – “Bishop of Peterborough breaks ranks over Church’s handling of George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/bishop-of-peterborough-breaks-ranks-over-churchs-handling-of-george-bell-case/124492.htm

Bishop of Peterborough breaks ranks over Church’s handling of George Bell case

The Bishop of Peterborough has broken ranks after the Archbishop of Canterbury declined to rescind a statement saying a ‘significant cloud’ hung over the late Bishop George Bell’s reputation after he was accused of abusing a young girl.

Donald Allister said George Bell’s ‘reputation has been severely damaged’ by the allegations, which a legal expert reviewing the case suggested would not have led to a guilty verdict ‘beyond the balance of probabilities’ in a criminal court.

Justin Welby
ITV / Peston The Archbishop of Canterbury has faced calls to resign from Bishop Bell’s supporters after his handling of the case.

 

Allister called for ‘a major review of anonymity’ in sex abuse cases and suggested that where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, the law should allow for the respondent also to be anonymous.

‘Until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way,’ he said in a debate in the House of Lords.

Explaining his remarks to Christian Today, Allister said the name of the accused should only be disclosed ‘when there was a substantial body of evidence suggesting guilt’.

‘I suggest that if a complainant is allowed to be anonymous, there should be a presumption that the respondent should normally be afforded the same right,’ he told Christian Today.

Bishop of Peterborough
Diocese of Peterborough Donald Allister, the Bishop of Peterborough, called for a government review on anonymity.

‘I am simply asking for a public debate and for the government to review this matter. I’m not suggesting that I have all the answers, merely that I believe such a review is necessary.’

The comments highlight divisions within the Church of England over how it has responded to the allegations against Bishop Bell.

The former Bishop of Chichester was deeply revered in the Church of England and was one of the Church’s most respected 20th century leaders. However his reputation was destroyed in 2015 when the Church of England appeared to admit he was a paedophile by publicly apologising to an alleged victim, known only as Carol, and paid her more than £30,000 in damages and legal fees after a civil claim was launched.

A subsequent review of how the Church dealt with the accusations by Lord Carlile QC found it ‘rushed to judgment’ and smeared Bell in its desperation to avoid being seen as soft on clergy sex abuse. ‘Serious errors were made’ as a result of an ‘oversteer’ that presumed his guilt without fully looking at the evidence, Carlile’s review found.

But despite the highly critical report Welby refused to apologise to Bell’s relatives and supporters and instead issued a statement that appeared to leave open the possibility of his guilt.

‘We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name,’ he said at the time. ‘No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and whole life should be kept in mind.’

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy JamesBishop George Bell

After three open letters of complaint were sent to the archbishop, Welby issued a statement explaining he could not clear Bell’s name and defending the Church’s decision to make the settlement public.

‘Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions,’ he said.

‘The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic.’

He added it was important to distinguish between the level of proof needed for a criminal case in court, where the accuser needs to prove guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and a civil claim, which Carol bought, where guilt ‘on the balance of probabilities’ needs to be proved.

November 23 2017 – “This delay is intolerable” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Meriel Wilmot-Wright of Chichester

2348http://www.chichester.co.uk/news/your-say/letter-bell-report-is-intolerable-1-8257965

LETTER: Bell report [wait] is intolerable MERIEL WILMOT-WRIGHT, LITTLE LONDON MEWS, CHICHESTER

Published: 01:00 Thursday 23 November 2017

It is now eight weeks since the eminent QC Lord Carlile delivered to Archbishop Justin Welby the report of his investigations into the unproven allegations against the late Bishop George Bell. Eight weeks – and the report is still unpublished. This delay is intolerable and there is now a large body of people nationwide calling for its immediate publication – one hopes, without redactions. 

‘Paedomanic Media’ to relegate Bishop Bell Report to back pages as Jersey Care Inquiry hits front pages?

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http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2017/04/25/ministers-pr-spending-is-astonishing-says-union-rep/

THE use of taxpayers’ money to help politicians learn how to ‘avoid answering questions’ at a time when public sector workers are losing their jobs is ‘astonishing’, a union leader has said.

Nick Corbel of Unite the union has heavily criticised the spending of more than £50,000 on preparing Jersey’s ministers to deal with the international media when the findings of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry are published.

Last week, the JEP revealed that the States spent £18,000 to employ former Tory spin doctor Ramsay Jones to advise ministers on the matter, on top of £33,5000 which was paid to PR firm Portland Communications.

Mr Corbel said that he thought it was ‘amazing’ that this amount of money could be spent at a time when dozens of States workers face redundancy as part of a £73 million cost-cutting programme and when the States are considering raising a new tax through the waste charge.

‘This is taxpayers’ money being used in order to teach politicians how to avoid answering questions,’ he said.

‘The public don’t want our ministers avoiding answering questions. That money could be better used and once again this spending comes at a time when we are being told that times are tight, that cuts are having to be made, that user-pays charges will have to come in which will impact on business. It is astonishing,’ he said.
Read more at https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2016/12/17/justice-for-bishop-george-bell-of-chichester-october-2015-to-october-2017/

 

Further information on Jersey Inquiry

http://www.itv.com/news/channel/update/2017-04-26/care-inquiry-reject-claims-evidence-will-be-destroyed/

http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2017/05/02/further-pr-spending-on-abuse-inquiry-is-not-ruled-out/