Tag Archives: The Bell Society

March 22 2018 – An Archbishop on Justice and Presumption of Guilt – Rumpole on Justice and Presumption of Innocence

March 22 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 21

Archbishop Justin Welby

Page 119-120 [Paras 21-25]

and at the heart of this has to be justice, and justice is a very, very difficult thing to find, as you know much better than I do, but we have to have a system that delivers justice. That is so important. And if it doesn’t, it’s not good enough.

Fiona Scolding QC

Page 123 [Paras 14-25] Page 124 [Paras 1-8]

One of the points that Lord Carlile makes is that the church didn’t take a good enough account of…George Bell’s reputation. Now, we have heard from several individuals about their views about that. But what he seems to suggest is, you have to start — you know, this was such a Titanic figure that one must assume that his reputation is unblemished and, therefore, that has to be weighed very heavily in the balance. Do you have any response to that?

Archbishop Justin Welby

I think the greatest tragedy of all these cases is that people have trusted, very often, those who were locally, in diocesan terms, or nationally Titanic figures, and have then found that they were not worthy of their trust. The fact that someone is a titanic figure doesn’t tell you anything at all, except that they have done remarkable things in one area. It doesn’t tell you about the rest of their lives. And it is not something that we can take into account.

March 22 2018 – From The Archives [1988 – “Rumpole of the Bailey” with Leo McKern – Episode: ‘Rumpole and the Age of Miracles’ [Series 5 Disc 2) – Filmed on location at Chichester Cathedral [‘The Diocese of Lawnchester’ – Ecclesiastical Court]

Rumpole: “I happen to have a good deal of faith”

Ballard: “Yes, in what precisely?”

Rumpole: “The health-giving properties of Claret. The presumption of innocence…that golden thread running through British justice”

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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]

February 2 2018 – “Judges join call for Welby to apologise over Bell claims” – Daily Telegraph – Page 2

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20180207/281547996343338

February 6 2018 – “Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby” – Church Times

Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby

06 February 2018


richard watt – Archbishop Welby at Lambeth Palace on Monday

THE woman who alleged that Bishop George Bell abused her is “not an inconvenience to be overlooked”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Monday. Instead, she is someone who should be “treated equally importantly” as the reputation of Bell.

In an interview with the Church Times, Archbishop Welby defended the Church of England’s decision to publicise the £16,800 payment it made to the woman, known as “Carol”, who, in 1995 and again in 2012 and 2013, told church officials that Bishop Bell had abused her as a young girl.

The decision to make Bell’s name public was criticised by Lord Carlile’s independent review (News, 22 December 2017). Since the publication of the review, Archbishop Welby has been fiercely criticised for saying that he could not, with integrity, clear Bell’s name (News, 26 January).

Speaking to the Church Times, the Archbishop acknowledged that the Carlile report “points out some of the quite severe weaknesses in the initial investigation of George Bell”; and he “accepted its recommendations — all except half of one recommendation” [the naming of those accused of abuse].

He said: “Let’s just have a hypothetical situation in which Chichester diocese had not declared its payment [to Carol] two years ago. With the Independent Inquiry [into Child Sexual Abuse] . . . that confidentiality undertaking would certainly have become public. Now, the first question, when I give evidence, would then be asked: ‘What else are you hiding? What do you really know about George Bell that you are not telling us, because you’re so anxious to keep it secret?’ It’s a lose-lose. . .

“We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable. But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.”

Campaigners for George Bell have cast doubt on the account given by Carol (News, 24 March 2016). But on Wednesday of last week, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received “fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell”. It did not give any further details.

The following day, the Bell Society convened a conference at Church House, Westminster. The keynote speaker was Dr Jules Gomes, pastor of an independent Anglican church on the Isle of Man.

There has also been press coverage of Julian Whiting, a survivor of private school and church abuse, who wrote to Archbishop Welby last month to complain about the settlement that he had received.

“I have struggled for years to obtain appropriate compensation, which despite huge efforts over many years I have failed to receive”, Mr Whiting said on Monday. “Even direct approaches to Justin Welby have proved fruitless.”

Accounts by other survivors were published in a booklet on Tuesday, We Asked for Bread but You Gave Us Stones.

The General Synod will discuss safeguarding policy at its meeting in Church House, Westminster on Saturday morning.

Archbishop Welby, reflecting on his first five years in office, said that safeguarding was the hardest thing that he had to deal with. “It’s the hardest because you’re dealing with the Church’s sin. You’re dealing with profound human weakness. You’re dealing with the consequences in damaged people, in people who’ve been terribly, terribly hurt. And it’s heart-breaking. . .

“I think we’ve sought to address it, both in mechanistic ways but also spiritually, in prayer, in attitude and culture. We’ve sought to address it in every way we can.”

 

Read the full interview in next week’s Church Times. See our special subscription offer: ten issues for a tenner.

 

February 4 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Website launch [following the Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Feb 1]

300px-rebuilding-bridges-logo-cutout

Website following on from The Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Thursday February 1 2018

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/

In the news…

External links to a selection of Bishop Bell-related article that appeared after the Rebuilding Bridges conference.

January 23 2018 – “Justin Welby under fire over refusal to say sorry over ‘trashing’ of Bishop George Bell’s name” – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/22/justin-welby-fire-refusal-say-sorry-trashing-bishop-george-bells/

Justin Welby under fire over refusal to say sorry over ‘trashing’ of Bishop George Bell’s name

Archbishop Justin Welby CREDIT: MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH/ REUTERS

The Archbishop of Canterbury has provoked a furious backlash by accusing supporters of a highly respected bishop of refusing to believe a historic child sex abuse allegation.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby has repeatedly declined  to apologise for the shredding of the reputation of Bishop George Bell over a single, uncorroborated claim made by a woman dating back more than 60 years.

Archbishop Welby has been under pressure to say sorry following the publication of an independent report which concluded Bishop Bell’s reputation had been wrongly destroyed.

Senior academics had written an open letter to the Telegraph complaining that the archbishop had shamed his office with “irresponsible and dangerous” claims that Bishop Bell may have been a paedophile.

But the Archbishop issued a statement on Monday standing by his refusal to apologise and taking a sideswipe at Bishop Bell’s supporters. In it he likened the case of Bishop Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester, to another bishop Peter Ball, a convicted sex offender.

“I cannot with integrity rescind my statement.” he said, referring to an earlier claim that Bishop Bell had a “significant cloud… over his name” and that he had been accused of “great wickedness”.

Lead Safeguarding Bishop supports Carlile recommendations

Archbishop Welby said on Monday: “As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged.

“As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret.

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

Bishop Bell’s supporters reacted with fury and dismay, pointing out the claim against him is uncorroborated and made by one woman – known only as carol – decades after the alleged abuse.

Bishop George Bell
Bishop George Bell

Lord Carlile, who wrote an independent report commissioned by the archbishop, concluded that Bishop bell’s reputation was “wrongly and unnecessarily damaged by the Church”. The Church had paid Carol £16,800 damages and issued an apology in 2015.

Richard Symonds, of the Bell Society, said the archbishop should consider resigning, adding: “His stance is unforgivable.” 

Martin Sewell, a retired child protection lawyer and a member of the general synod who will demand an apology when it meets next month, said: “This makes me extraordinarily angry. This statement makes your heart sink.” 

Archbishop Welby
Archbishop Welby CREDIT: GARETH FULLER/PA

A well-placed source inside the Church said: “There is widespread belief that he [Welby] has not shown an appropriate Christian approach in this case. There is a head of steam in the Church of England that could end up in his resignation over this.”

Bishop Bell, who died aged 75 in 1958, was one of the towering figure of the Church of England in the 20th century and was revered for his role in rescuing Jews from Nazi Germany before the war.

The allegation was first made by ‘Carol’ in 1995 some 38 years after his death and brought to Archbishop Welby’s attention in 2013.

Professor Tony Maden, a psychiatrist who examined her, said the “delays in reporting in this case are exceptional” and added that “memory is not reliable over such long periods of time”. He said “false memory” could not be ruled out as an explanation for her claim in the absence of any corroboration.

January 9 2018 – Letter from Anne A. Dawson of Northolt

Dear Editor
I am writing in support of the ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference next month – at Church House Westminster on Thursday February 1 – which I am sadly unable to attend. This is important to me because it restores my faith in humanity there are other people sharing views compatible to mine.
I felt devastated by the bleakness of the statement of our spiritual leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in response to the Independent Review by Lord Carlile 15.12.2017, because I feel it expresses cynicism and self-interest, especially the Archbishop’s words about Bishop Bell:
“We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name. 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”
My trust in the hierarchy of the Church of England has been shattered. I won’t leave the Church because of this, but basically the statement is tragic because of its implications.
Why is there a cloud over Bishop Bell’s name?
My response is because the Archbishop intends perpetuating ambiguity.
I would challenge the relevance in the context of this statement: “Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good”.
 
Why is the Archbishop saying this, if not to convey insidious undertones of an implied guilty verdict? The Archbishop had an opportunity to clearly refer to the UDHR, Articles 10 and 11. I feel he has let down the Church of England, as its leading spokesperson.
I am not an expert in law or theology. My interest in this issue is because my work in a pastoral role at primary school includes safeguarding procedures. In my opinion, Lord Carlile’s report was balanced and rational. It avoided preference or prejudice, unlike the Archbishop’s statement which conveyed both.
To me ethics are of utmost importance, because we are educating the next generation to be morally responsible as individuals and as world citizens.
Every child has a sense of natural justice. ‘It’s not fair’ is one of the first and most repeated phrases from Reception Year upwards. In playground disputes we always follow procedures based on conflict resolution. First one child speaks, while the other listens, then vice-versa. With an adult monitoring, most often the outcome is reconciliation.
However, how can I encourage children to respect a man of great responsibility like the Archbishop, when he dismisses the need for a fair hearing of the other?
The school where I work is predominantly non-Christian, with a very diverse spread of backgrounds and nationalities. My sadness is that the Christian faith is being destroyed within by its own leaders, when they recklessly demolish the reputation of one of its greatest representatives.
I am really distressed by this, as children have more choices than ever about what they choose to believe and the inspiration for their internal value system, but the consequences of weak moral leadership from the Anglican Church will not inspire any young person.
The Archbishop has weakened the Church of England by the defamation of Bishop Bell. The long term result is a church broken from within, which does not attract new faith in young people.
A strong church for the younger generation is needed, which has the humility to concede it is sometimes wrong and mismanages its procedures. The Archbishop has lacked the courage to do this, by continuing to deflect guilt onto Bishop Bell. That is why I feel his Statement was self-serving and cynical by the statement “Good acts do not diminish evil ones , nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good”. This comment is made in the context of Bishop Bell’s life, marked throughout with adherence to Christ-centred behaviour in war-divided Europe and beyond. This reference to “evil acts” are totally without evidence, and neither necessary or appropriate to the statement.
To misquote Martin Luther King Jr, 28.8.1963 “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the allegations, but by the content of their character”.
I want to live out my Christian values towards others, based on informed and thoughtful reflection rather than prejudice. I own my anger towards the Archbishop, prompted by shock that he was so intentionally ambivalent towards Bishop Bell in his statement.
I continue to learn through this situation about the theory of personality and what integrity really is. I will continue to invest time and consideration into challenging the Archbishop’s statement “Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good”, especially in the context of Bishop Bell.
This letter is underpinned by my sincere desire to look towards the well-being of children. My work requires robust safeguarding in school and in all spheres of life.
In an attempt to over-compensate for past indifference to allegations of child abuse within the church, the leadership projected blame onto a dead man to absorb the ill will. By implying the guilt of Bishop Bell in the above comments in his statement, the Archbishop increases mistrust in safeguarding procedure rather than respecting Lord Carlile’s conclusions.
This does not offer any assurance that future allegations will be properly addressed. I feel compassion for those who have been deeply hurt by words of injustice towards Bishop Bell, who has no opportunity for a fair public hearing.
I hope for a positive outcome at the Rebuilding Bridges event on Ist February, and pray that it brings reconciliation and the restoration of Bishop Bell’s good name.
Yours sincerely
Anne A. Dawson
Northolt