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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Carlile Report and George Bell
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
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It is difficult to understand how the Church of England, with its contacts with the education and local authority mechanisms through its school system, could have got call group work so spectacularly wrong.

It is also a little naive to think that the report author does not offer a view on the evidence, despite his protestations. Read paragraphs 258 to 263 of the report. It is fairly clear what he thinks of the case on the assumption that he is right about the facts available to him.

The Church of England calendar is full of people that ought not to be commemorated. One rabbit anti-Semite, one-person very much likely to be complicit in a murder, another responsible for starting a civil war. Perhaps we shouldn’t commemorate people adore.

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:


The Church of England calendar is full of people that ought not to be commemorated. One rabbit anti-Semite, one-person very much likely to be complicit in a murder, another responsible for starting a civil war. Perhaps we shouldn’t commemorate people adore.

I feel like I've been around this block before - having seen unavoidable evidence that someone I previously revered had a very dark side.

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arse

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Eutychus
From the edge
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Last Sunday I listened to a sermon about wolves and sheep, during which the preacher suggested that there was also something of the wolf within each of us.

That's an uncomfortable, but sadly true, insight. We need to stop both putting people on pedestals and demonising them (not infrequently, aided and abetted by the media, doing both in succession to the same person, e.g. Savile).

My own theory is that our inevitable tendency to do so is simply a way of distancing ourselves from the very good and the very bad, ruling us out (as we mistakenly believe) from ever being capable of being the former and somehow (also mistakenly) immunnising us against becoming the latter.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
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I learned pretty young not to revere any person.

But Savile is a very poor example. He didn’t need demonising, his terrible acts spoke for themselves. It was the earlier reverence which contributed to him being able to hide in plain sight.

Get rid of the pedestals - all of them.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Eutychus
From the edge
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Yes Savile's terrible acts spoke for themselves. The bit we have difficulty computing is that monsters can also perform good actions, and I'm far from sure that Savile is any exception to that.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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BroJames
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One of the issues in this case, as far as investigation was concerned, is that with George Bell having been dead for over 50 years by the time the allegations were first reported to the police, they (quite rightly IMO) were not willing to spend time and resources in investigating them. I seriously doubt that their attitude would have been any different had the allegations been referred to them in 1995. So the diocese did not have the option of leaving the investigation to the police.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I learned pretty young not to revere any person.

But Savile is a very poor example. He didn’t need demonising, his terrible acts spoke for themselves. It was the earlier reverence which contributed to him being able to hide in plain sight.

Get rid of the pedestals - all of them.

I don't know that this is really possible - it seems part of the human condition to look to others for inspiration and personal aspiration. In knocking down pedestals, we just open space for erecting someone else in place.

I think the problem is in two parts; first we tend to pick inspirational characters without enough (time or physical) distance. Second we tend to latch onto certain attractive characteristics, diminishing their humanity - so if/when it turns out that they're somehow flawed, that can really shake our faith in.. well, everything.

But the alternative seems to be to be set adrift in a lonely world, only able to take inspiration from the things/people immediately around us.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Yes Savile's terrible acts spoke for themselves. The bit we have difficulty computing is that monsters can also perform good actions, and I'm far from sure that Savile is any exception to that.

I'm fairly sure that concentration camp commanders were kind to their children. But equally, I'm pretty sure that their great and evil acts overwhelmed any good that they did in their family.

I think we're really into the weeds if we're suggesting that it might be OK to be inspired by the good acts of a monster.

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arse

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Eutychus
From the edge
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I'm not sure everyone finds it easy to imagine concentration camp officers being kind to their kids.

The issue of safe and/or legitimate sources of inspiration is a separate and interesting question.

Perhaps deserving of a separate thread?

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Barnabas62
Host
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quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:


It is also a little naive to think that the report author does not offer a view on the evidence, despite his protestations. Read paragraphs 258 to 263 of the report. It is fairly clear what he thinks of the case on the assumption that he is right about the facts available to him.


Here is para 258

quote:
258. That said, if the criticisms are substantially valid, in my judgement the decision to settle the case in the form and manner followed was indefensibly wrong. In giving that view, again I emphasise that it is not part of my terms of reference to venture an opinion as to whether Carol was telling the truth. Mine is (I hope) an objective exercise about the conduct of a potential piece of litigation
(The bold text is mine)

He has of course formed a very critical view about the operations of the Core group, believing that their sloppiness led to unjustified actions. But that is different to judging the case. Rather, he observes that in his view there were good grounds for the CofE to deny liability, yet these were not properly considered by the Core Group. His wording is very careful on that point, as the emboldened sentence makes clear.

And so far as this thread is concerned, with the Commandment 7 strictures emphasised, that is a very important distinction.

[ 19. December 2017, 08:33: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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L'organist
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Today's Thunderer column in The Times is from the pen of Andrew Chandler, biographer of George Bell and the acknowledged expert on Bell, his life and work.

It is surprising that neither the Core Group nor West Sussex Police seem to have taken the opportunity to interview Mr Chandler, particularly in light of the fact that he has read all of Bell's famous blue notebooks in which GB kept notes of all his meetings, appointments and engagements and which cover the period 1919 to 1957, a year before GB's death. Mr Chandler is on the staff of the University of Chichester so it should have been easy for him to be contacted.

Anyway, Mr Chandler shares my view: that the Carlile review casts a cloud over the CofE at both local and national level and that in its reaction to it the cloud is thickest and darkest over Lambeth.

(I hope none of this falls foul of any of the Commandments?)

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
It is difficult to understand how the Church of England, with its contacts with the education and local authority mechanisms through its school system, could have got call group work so spectacularly wrong.

Actually I find this one of the easiest things to understand. Lord Carlile comments (paragraph 94)
quote:
It has become clear to me that Dioceses have a very high degree of independence. This is not unique to the Church of England: in the Roman Catholic Church even single monasteries in some cases are almost entirely self-governing.
A former Bishop of Peterborough used to describe it as being like 42 petty baronies. Within diocesan administrations those concerned with particular fields make the effort to keep up with those working in similar fields - at least on a regional basis. But I don't suppose those who work for the diocesan boards of education have much idea about the work of those handling complaints like this or clergy discipline issues, and vice versa

quote:
It is also a little naive to think that the report author does not offer a view on the evidence, despite his protestations. Read paragraphs 258 to 263 of the report. It is fairly clear what he thinks of the case on the assumption that he is right about the facts available to him.
I read him as saying that a little basic investigation, which would have been within the capacity of those involved, would have revealed enough evidence to show that the complainant's case might or would not be accepted buy a court on the balance of probabilities. His point is that there are grounds on which the claim might have been contested - but he really only looks at litigation risk, he does not weigh and evaluate the competing evidence.

If they had reached that conclusion, he argues, then it would have been indefensible for them to settle the complaint in the way that they did. A 'litigation risk' settlement, such as he suggests might have been achieved, factors in not only the irrecoverable costs of litigation, but also the risk that the court takes a different view from the advisers and that new evidence may emerge down the line which will change the picture.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:


He has of course formed a very critical view about the operations of the Core group, believing that their sloppiness led to unjustified actions. But that is different to judging the case. Rather, he observes that in his view there were good grounds for the CofE to deny liability, yet these were not properly considered by the Core Group. His wording is very careful on that point, as the emboldened sentence makes clear.

And so far as this thread is concerned, with the Commandment 7 strictures emphasised, that is a very important distinction.

And we can all take a personal view as to whether he's actually succeeded in that. I don't think he has - simply stating that he is not doing something doesn't actually mean that he isn't.

On a more general point, it strikes me that Lord Carlile has treated writing this report like a statutory inquiry (which it clearly wasn't) and has made judgements about the absence of people talking to him. He's been involved in various inquiries, so that's understandable. Nobody is under any obligation to talk to a private and non-criminal investigation, and their absence can't be taken to mean anything significant.

Secondly he's tried to walk a self-imposed tightrope, claiming first that this isn't something which could or should meet a criminal standard of evidence, but then treating the accusation as something which is capable of being legally weighed against other character statements - and giving significant weight to the views of interested parties.

It's a failure of a report. There is nothing useful which can be taken from this report should an accusation of this kind be presented to the Anglican structure in the future.

The best that can be said is that a huge amount of time and resources would ideally be put into an investigation of a 60 year old accusation (including engaging with the police and getting advice from government lawyers - which seems to me to be a fairly wild suggestion).

It's not a practical suggestion. Leaving aside the questions of compensation and badly-worded official statements by the church - nothing that has been offered in this report would have made the slightest difference.

And we're no further forward knowing what to do if it happened again.

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arse

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BroJames
Shipmate
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Today's Thunderer column in The Times

Is there any way of viewing this without having to register and sign in?
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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Today's Thunderer column in The Times

Is there any way of viewing this without having to register and sign in?
You could buy a copy from your local newsagent.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
I read him as saying that a little basic investigation, which would have been within the capacity of those involved, would have revealed enough evidence to show that the complainant's case might or would not be accepted buy a court on the balance of probabilities. His point is that there are grounds on which the claim might have been contested - but he really only looks at litigation risk, he does not weigh and evaluate the competing evidence.

That's not really correct. Para 56 includes something that Lord Carlile says should have been given significant weight (compare with para 5, which is said to be unsubstantiated and therefore ignored), it is hard to conclude that he isn't in the process weighing and evaluation competing evidence

quote:
If they had reached that conclusion, he argues, then it would have been indefensible for them to settle the complaint in the way that they did. A 'litigation risk' settlement, such as he suggests might have been achieved, factors in not only the irrecoverable costs of litigation, but also the risk that the court takes a different view from the advisers and that new evidence may emerge down the line which will change the picture.
That seems to me to be a difference that doesn't amount to anything.

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arse

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L'organist
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posted by mr cheesy
quote:
On a more general point, it strikes me that Lord Carlile has treated writing this report like a statutory inquiry [snip]
Agreed, he has applied great rigour to the task - but is that such a bad thing? It strikes me that's like going to a shop to buy a generic whisky, being given a bottle of 15 year-old single malt and then complaining about it!

quote:
Nobody is under any obligation to talk to a private and non-criminal investigation, and their absence can't be taken to mean anything significant.
Again, I agree, but equally it is usual that family members lend one another support in times of stress and matters of emergency.

quote:
Secondly he's tried to walk a self-imposed tightrope, claiming first that this isn't something which could or should meet a criminal standard of evidence, but then treating the accusation as something which is capable of being legally weighed against other character statements - and giving significant weight to the views of interested parties.
But Lord Carlile had to look at standards of evidence since the whole raison d'être for the Core Group was to decide on the issue of compensation as it might be applied if a criminal case has been pursued (my italics) and the support offered by the CofE included putting the complainant in touch with a firm of solicitors.

As for weight given to views,etc, etc: the CofE itself was/is an "interested party" so where do you suggest he over-stepped the mark?

quote:
It's a failure of a report. There is nothing useful which can be taken from this report should an accusation of this kind be presented to the Anglican structure in the future.


Choosing my words very carefully here, I cannot fathom how you reach that conclusion. Quite apart from anything else, it offers a simple and practical bullet-point list of exactly how any church body should handle an accusation of this kind (or any other, for that matter) in the future. Granted, we might like to think that an institution such as the church doesn't need advice in how to run an effective investigatory committee but the evidence in this case it that it did and does.

quote:
The best that can be said is that a huge amount of time and resources would ideally be put into an investigation of a 60 year old accusation (including engaging with the police and getting advice from government lawyers - which seems to me to be a fairly wild suggestion).


I hope you didn't really mean to say that engaging with the police in relation to allegations of abuse should be seen as a "fairly wild suggestion". For goodness' sake: has the CofE learned nothing from its previous ham-fisted attempts to distance itself from people like Peter Ball, Roy Cotton, Colin Pritchard, etc, etc, etc? I'd have thought that the criticism of the actions of George Carey over Peter Ball made it abundantly clear that the church must engage with the police where there are allegations of serious criminality, either recent or historic.

quote:
Leaving aside the questions of compensation and badly-worded official statements by the church - nothing that has been offered in this report would have made the slightest difference.
Unbelievable. If the suggestions offered by Lord Carlile had been followed, then not only would those concerned at the reputational damage to Bishop Bell been assured that he, despite being dead, had been accorded equal weight in the scale of priorities with the complainant, but the complainant would have had their allegation handled with a proper process that was far more than about damage-control for the reputation of the CofE. Whatever the protestations to the contrary, all the way down the line the main thrust of the 'official' church response to the allegation was one of seeking to minimise damage to its own reputation and limit any financial recompense it made to the complainant.

quote:
And we're no further forward knowing what to do if it happened again.
We are miles further forward because Lord Carlile has, as I say above, given us a handy list of the processes and procedures that should be followed.

edited - coding madness removed

[ 19. December 2017, 09:30: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Eutychus
From the edge
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hosting/

quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
(I hope none of this falls foul of any of the Commandments?)

So far as I can see, that's all fine in that post. For the avoidance of doubt, what we are seeking to avoid in this specific instance is potentially libellous speculation about living persons. That includes impugning their motives and making accusations against them that go beyond what is in the public domain.

If you want to do that in public (and you may feel there is a case for doing so), I suggest you do so in a forum where you have clearly discussed the potential libel issues with the publisher beforehand; Purgatory isn't such a forum.

As your post demonstrates, there's plenty to discuss without doing so, though.

Any more questions about host or admin rulings on this thread should be directed to the Styx.

/hosting

[ 19. December 2017, 09:30: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
But Lord Carlile had to look at standards of evidence since the whole raison d'être for the Core Group was to decide on the issue of compensation as it might be applied if a criminal case has been pursued (my italics) and the support offered by the CofE included putting the complainant in touch with a firm of solicitors.

I don't think this was the whole raison d'être for the Core Group, and I can't find in the Carlile report the words that you have italicised. Also, AFAICT the standard of proof they had to consider was that of 'balance of probabilities' as if a civil case had been pursued. Although, even with this lower standard of proof, it is clear from the Carlile report that there were more factors to be taken into consideration than just the complainant's account of events.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:


Choosing my words very carefully here, I cannot fathom how you reach that conclusion. Quite apart from anything else, it offers a simple and practical bullet-point list of exactly how any church body should handle an accusation of this kind (or any other, for that matter) in the future. Granted, we might like to think that an institution such as the church doesn't need advice in how to run an effective investigatory committee but the evidence in this case it that it did and does.

I don't think that this is shown. An old QC says that he's not making judgments about an accusation when clearly he is; dismisses and weighs evidence even whilst saying that he isn't and goes far beyond the terms of reference of the inquiry. He hasn't simply looked at the group making the decision, he has assessed whether they should have made a different decision.

You are of course free to think that this offers a roadmap as to how the structure should do things differently in the future. I don't think that it does in any sensible way.

quote:


I hope you didn't really mean to say that engaging with the police in relation to allegations of abuse should be seen as a "fairly wild suggestion".

No, I'm referring to Treasury Counsel (which I assumed meant government lawyers - but on second look possibly does not) para 170.

As the interactions with the police showed, they're unlikely to have resources to investigate claims from 60 years ago with this level of evidence.

quote:
For goodness' sake: has the CofE learned nothing from its previous ham-fisted attempts to distance itself from people like Peter Ball, Roy Cotton, Colin Pritchard, etc, etc, etc? I'd have thought that the criticism of the actions of George Carey over Peter Ball made it abundantly clear that the church must engage with the police where there are allegations of serious criminality, either recent or historic.
No argument that police should have been informed. The record of the police interaction is that it wouldn't have made any difference at all.

quote:
nbelievable. If the suggestions offered by Lord Carlile had been followed, then not only would those concerned at the reputational damage to Bishop Bell been assured that he, despite being dead, had been accorded equal weight in the scale of priorities with the complainant, but the complainant would have had their allegation handled with a proper process that was far more than about damage-control for the reputation of the CofE. Whatever the protestations to the contrary, all the way down the line the main thrust of the 'official' church response to the allegation was one of seeking to minimise damage to its own reputation and limit any financial recompense it made to the complainant.
I understand your point of view.

quote:
We are miles further forward because Lord Carlile has, as I say above, given us a handy list of the processes and procedures that should be followed.

OK. Well, then we disagree.

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arse

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BroJames
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I think there is a very clear set of useful recommendations set out in paragraphs 20-34 (inclusive) of the report. It surprises me that some of them should have needed to be made, but that flows from the failures of this particular core group.

Looking at it, and having looked at the current Practice Guidance, it seems to me that there may have been a lack of clarity about who were members of the Core Group, and who should not be members as such, but be kept informed about its progress.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
But Lord Carlile had to look at standards of evidence since the whole raison d'être for the Core Group was to decide on the issue of compensation as it might be applied if a criminal case has been pursued (my italics) and the support offered by the CofE included putting the complainant in touch with a firm of solicitors.

I don't think this was the whole raison d'être for the Core Group, and I can't find in the Carlile report the words that you have italicised. Also, AFAICT the standard of proof they had to consider was that of 'balance of probabilities' as if a civil case had been pursued. Although, even with this lower standard of proof, it is clear from the Carlile report that there were more factors to be taken into consideration than just the complainant's account of events.
I think that he is applying some level of judgement about the chances of the case winning in a criminal case - see para 30 and also 170, 171, 254

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arse

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BroJames
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I agree he judges (in para 171) that there was only a low chance of a prosecution being successful. In the other paragraphs he is not making his own judgement, I think, only saying that the Core Group should have been taking appropriate steps to enable them to make a judgement.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
I agree he judges (in para 171) that there was only a low chance of a prosecution being successful. In the other paragraphs he is not making his own judgement, I think, only saying that the Core Group should have been taking appropriate steps to enable them to make a judgement.

I think this amounts to the same thing. And surely disagrees with what you said previously:

quote:
I don't think this was the whole raison d'être for the Core Group, and I can't find in the Carlile report the words that you have italicised. Also, AFAICT the standard of proof they had to consider was that of 'balance of probabilities' as if a civil case had been pursued. Although, even with this lower standard of proof, it is clear from the Carlile report that there were more factors to be taken into consideration than just the complainant's account of events.


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arse

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
I agree he judges (in para 171) that there was only a low chance of a prosecution being successful. In the other paragraphs he is not making his own judgement, I think, only saying that the Core Group should have been taking appropriate steps to enable them to make a judgement.

I think this amounts to the same thing. And surely disagrees with what you said previously:

quote:
I don't think this was the whole raison d'être for the Core Group, and I can't find in the Carlile report the words that you have italicised. Also, AFAICT the standard of proof they had to consider was that of 'balance of probabilities' as if a civil case had been pursued. Although, even with this lower standard of proof, it is clear from the Carlile report that there were more factors to be taken into consideration than just the complainant's account of events.

I think there's a difference between saying "I believe X did (or did not) commit a crime" and saying "I believe some other group should have satisfied themselves about whether X did (or did not) commute a crime"

I don't see how what I have said contradicts my assertion that it is not the case that
quote:
the whole raison d'être for the Core Group was to decide on the issue of compensation
I do think they had to make a decision. I disagree that the group's whole raison d'être was about compensation.
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Albertus
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Having read the Report, my strong sense of what Lord Carlile is saying is that (i) the CofE didn't investigate this properly, despite what it had said, and the basic reason for that is in his words 'over-steering' in an effort not to be thought of as in any way covering anything up (ii) there was information, pretty easily available, which needed to be set against Carol's claims. And from that second point, I think, we have to come to the conclusion that at this date, in the absence of any corroboration, we simply can't prove - or disprove- the claims. For example, Canon Carey, Bishop bell's chaplain, had no memory of Carol being there- but neither did he of Pauline, who was a girl of Carol's age who said she lived at the Palace with, I think, her mother(and did not remember Carol either).

I don't think, on the evidence we have available, that we're entitled to conclude that Bishop Bell was a child abuser. But the accusation has been made and we can't be sure that it's untrue, either (although I hope that it is). For example, here's a scenario which seems to me to be prima facie plausible and compatible with the other evidence (and absence of complaints) that Carlile unearthed, if we believe that Carol's claim might have been true:

'George Bell experienced sexual attraction to young girls. He regarded this as an affliction and, as a Christian and a churchman of strong moral character, always resisted acting on the attraction. However, for a period in about 1950, for reasons we don't know- perhaps some kind of personal or spiritual crisis- his usual determination failed him and, disastrously, he lapsed and abused Carol.'

Now, I'm not saying that's true_ I hope it isn't- and all I know about the case is what was in the Carlile report. But if something like that had happened, what picture would we have of Bell? Not a serial abuser like some of the other clerical abusers who have been detected in recent years, but a good man, heroically resisting for years something which was a burden to him, who for a period fell and harmed someone else. The appropriate response would be sadness, not condemnation (of the man- condemnation of the act, certainly).

But this is mere speculation, trying to suggest that it's not necessarily a choice between Bell the traduced saint and Bell the paedophile monster. And at this date we simply cannot know what happened or didn't happen, although we can now conclude that the claims that have been made are probably not, on the balance of probabilities, persuasive.

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Oscar the Grouch

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
But this is mere speculation, trying to suggest that it's not necessarily a choice between Bell the traduced saint and Bell the paedophile monster. And at this date we simply cannot know what happened or didn't happen, although we can now conclude that the claims that have been made are probably not, on the balance of probabilities, persuasive.

The difficulty is that it is easy to come up with any number of seemingly reasonable pieces of speculation, all based on the same, thin, pieces of evidence. In some scenarios, George Bell really is some sort of abuser. In others, he is utterly innocent and either the victim of a false memory or of mistaken identity.

The point is that almost all of these alternative scenarios can be made without for a moment doubting the sincerity of 'Carol'.

Unless there is evidence of which we (and Lord Carlile) are unaware, there is no way to work out which of these plausible scenarios is the right one. Which makes the Core Group's rush to condemnation even more flawed, and Welby et al's refusal to acknowledge this even more ill-advised.

In addition to all that has been written so far, Martin Sewell's analysis is well worth a careful read.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Having read the Report, my strong sense of what Lord Carlile is saying is that (i) the CofE didn't investigate this properly, despite what it had said, and the basic reason for that is in his words 'over-steering' in an effort not to be thought of as in any way covering anything up (ii) there was information, pretty easily available, which needed to be set against Carol's claims.

Not necessarily "set against", but rather "considered in assessing". That's really what the Carlile report is all about, whether the Core Group had gathered as much material as possible before deciding whether the sincerity of Carol's belief had sufficient basis in fact to warrant a payment of compensation. He found that it had not.

As for Mr Cheesy's comment that he proceeded as if he were conducting a statutory enquiry, there are two questions. Was not an enquiry established by the C of E to examine how its procedures has worked in a specific example, an official enquiry for the C of E, and akin to a statutory enquiry? And the second is how otherwise do you consider he should have proceeded?

A comment that he's an old QC does not really help my assessment of his report.

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Gee D
Alex Carlile is a former LibDem MP who was made a QC very young (36) and has had a very distinguished legal career including, among other things, being the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in 2001. He is President of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Oscar the Grouch:

In addition to all that has been written so far, Martin Sewell's analysis is well worth a careful read.

Agreed. It is notable in particular for this comment.

quote:
When you end up apologising to both the Accused and the Complainant for your institutional incompetence, it is time for a fundamental debate about what is wrong at the highest levels of the Church of England.

Yet now we see our Bishops picking a fight with Lord Carlile on the applicability of transparency in special cases. One is bound to suggest that he is not the one who needs lectures on the subject, and that our church leadership is not perhaps best placed to deliver them.

That strikes me as an accurate observation.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Having read the Report, my strong sense of what Lord Carlile is saying is that (i) the CofE didn't investigate this properly, despite what it had said, and the basic reason for that is in his words 'over-steering' in an effort not to be thought of as in any way covering anything up (ii) there was information, pretty easily available, which needed to be set against Carol's claims.

Not necessarily "set against", but rather "considered in assessing".
Yes, that's a much better way of putting it- thank you. And, Oscar the Grouch, I agree entirely. The CofE's rush to judgement was not inexplicable but it was wrong.

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It may be of interest to note here that attempts to get Safeguarding included on the agenda for the February General Synod meeting are meeting resistance; and further note that when questions about safeguarding are raised one is met with the bland assurance "The House of Bishops are responsible for safeguarding".

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Gee D
Alex Carlile is a former LibDem MP who was made a QC very young (36) and has had a very distinguished legal career including, among other things, being the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in 2001. He is President of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Thanks, but I had checked up on him. The "old QC" was something I picked in Mr Cheesy's post, but which seemed not to take the matter forward.

[ 19. December 2017, 22:26: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Sorry Gee D. Blame my patronising post on over-exposure to screaming school-children leading to an emergency single malt infusion.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Thanks, but I had checked up on him. The "old QC" was something I picked in Mr Cheesy's post, but which seemed not to take the matter forward.

The point that I was trying to make is that this report would have looked rather different if it had been written by someone with long experience of social work, a historian etc. In this report he even says that this cannot be considered under the usual criminal standards of evidence, but then goes on to assess it by that standard - introducing evidence which he says is important, but would surely be tested and considered weak if it ever came to a court. In newspaper interviews I posted above, it is clear that he considers that paedophiles pretty much always attack more than one child - and that the lack of other reports is significant.

The point about him trying to run a statutory inquiry is relevant when he makes assertions in the text about the lack of people coming forward to make reports to him. It might - arguably - be expected that people might come forward to a statutory inquiry, rather less that they'd come forward to a private inquiry set up by the Anglican church. The fact that Lord Carlile thinks that he can assess and dismiss information based on absence says a lot about the role he thinks he has with reference to his inquiry.

That said, if this report had been written by a historian, I don't suppose the conclusion would have been a whole lot different - I just suspect it'd be lacking in a lot of irrelevant legalese.

Someone made an accusation. A bunch of other people said that they didn't recognise the individual in question because of various reasons in the accusation. These reports might be in conflict, but they might not be. The personal character witnesses have little relevance to the reliability or credibility of the report.

In the situation of a statemate and with little other information, the Anglican structure chose to make a payment without accepting culpability or liability. It was a relatively low payment, and as Lord Carlile himself says, the only other way to avoid this would have been to spend a lot of legal time getting different legal advice (presumably costing a lot) to avoid it, possibly trashing the witness in the process. And there are clearly other factors other than that legal opinion in play for the Anglican structure.

Issues about the release of statements by the bishops and the other issues of the lectionary and renaming are surely what the report should have been about.

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Gee D
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I suppose that the answer to all that can be very simple. This report was commissioned and written in the context of a claim for compensation to be resolved by negotiation or otherwise in court. And it involves the interpretation and examination of legal documents. A senior lawyer, particularly one with the strong emphasis on civil liberty issues, is the natural choice for that role, not a social worker or an historian.

His age of course is irrelevant, a cheap slur, save that as an older person he has had more of life's experiences than a 21 year old.

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No doubt to the chagrin of ++Justin and the Bishop for safeguarding, the issue of George Bell, the Carlile Report and the traducing of Bell's reputation won't go away.

As reported in the Telegraph last week, an impressive collection of church luminaries have written to the Times last Friday and former choristers this week demanding that Lambeth, and the CofE in general, stop behaving so shabbily over the reputational damage caused to the memory of George Bell.

When will Lambeth see that doing nothing - or rather appearing to stick their fingers in their ears and drone la-la-la is not an option?

Meanwhile, can anyone tell us whether or not Safeguarding has been put on the agenda for GS next month, not as a Q&A session but a proper debate?

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Enoch
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L'organist, ++ Justin hasn't done 'nothing'. His statement is,
quote:
“I cannot with integrity rescind my statement.”
You may disagree with that. I might also. But let's apply a bit of the sort of analysis that Jordan Petersen might insist on but which Kathy Newman won't recognise. ++ Justin hasn't done nothing. He's done something which you and the people who have written to the quality press don't agree with.

There are possibly four options. There may be some others, but these are the ones that spring to my mind. Three involve doing something, and he has done one of those:-

1. To say that he's come to conclusion that Bishop Bell has been falsely traduced. That is also saying that 'Carol' was either lying or acting out of false memories. There would be no need to say which, but it would mean the diocese should not have paid anything at all, despite legal advice at the time. It should have insisted 'Carol' sue and fought her claim through the courts.

2. To say that he's come to the conclusion that the accusations were true. That is saying either that Lord Carlile's review got it wrong, or that it only relates to the incompetence of others in the way they handled the complaint was handled. It has no bearing on the substance of the claim.

3. To say something like what he has said, which is a variant of 'I don't know one way or the other'. Having had experience in my professional career of dealing with the fall-out from bungled investigations, I can say that once an investigation has been bungled, it's usually impossible to retrieve the situation. That is even more likely to be the case if the allegation is about events 60+ years ago when inevitably almost everybody relevant is now dead. One is ultimately left with the conclusion that the whole thing has already been bungled so badly that one cannot with integrity say that one believes any of the possible versions of the story, or, for that matter, which versions are more likely to be true or false. Or

4. To say nothing, skate over it, and hope it goes away. That is the option that is 'doing nothing', not 3.

He would only have 'done nothing' if he had remained silent.

If there are more options, perhaps you could say what you would do if you were him? Should he actually have chosen 4, or a different one of those four options, or is there something else?

Remember 'we shouldn't be where we are now' may be an entirely valid comment but it is not an option. History is not reversible.

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Oscar the Grouch

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
To say that he's come to conclusion that Bishop Bell has been falsely traduced. That is also saying that 'Carol' was either lying or acting out of false memories.

I'm sorry, but I think that this is a false conclusion.

If you say that Bishop Bell was falsely traduced, this doesn't mean that 'Carol' must be lying, nor that she acting out of false memories (although that must remain a possibility). It is simply saying 'the accusation against Bishop Bell is impossible to prove one way or the other and the "investigation" was conducted in such a way as to falsely leap to a conclusion that cannot be justified.' There are many possible reasons why we can take the initial accusations of Carol seriously and yet still refuse to trash the reputation of Bishop Bell. One that has risen to the surface in recent days is the possibility of an error of identification - that something DID happen at the Bishop's Palace but it wasn't Bishop Bell.

The complaint against Abp Welby is that, despite Lord Carlile's damning report on the process that condemned Bishop Bell, Welby has insisted at every opportunity to give the impression that these allegations are effectively proven and not up for question.

His stubbornness is, quite frankly, baffling. More than that, it just undermines any credibility that the C of E might still have in the wider society. How can Welby (or any bishop) offer any comments about 'justice' without having them thrown right back at them?

Whilst I have little time for the Daily Mail, Peter Hitchen's writings on the subject are worth reading:
What does the archbishop think he is doing?

A couple of pertinent snippets:
quote:
It is clear that had Lord Carlile been asked to rule on George Bell’s guilt or innocence, he would have pronounced him ‘not guilty’. So what, precisely is the evidence on which the Archbishop of Canterbury, supposedly spiritual leader of millions, guardian of the foundations of truth and justice, maintains that there is still a 'cloud' over George Bell’s name? Does he have second sight? Does he know something he is not telling us? If so (though I cannot see how this can be so), why will he not say what it is?
quote:
I have never seen him acknowledge the Carlile report’s clear demonstration that the secret trial of George Bell was what it was, a badly-run, one-sided mess which failed to find key evidence or witnesses, and even failed to tell some of its members about key evidence which greatly undermined the accusation.
With historians, theologians and newspaper editors lined up against him, I am beginning to think that Welby has some sort of death wish.

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Martin60
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Welby is unjustly, overcompensatingly wrong. We'll never know, we can't. The Church should help the complainant anyway, with a financial settlement, for the historically inevitable safeguarding failure that made the complaint possible.

[ 24. January 2018, 10:17: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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BroJames
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What Carlile explicitly says is
quote:
it was not part of my task to consider the truth of the allegations and I have not done so.
He concludes that there was evidence to counter the claim that abuse had taken place, and that therefore liability should have been denied. The outcome then would either have been litigation with the claim being tested on the balance of probabilities, or a 'risks of litigation' settlement with denial of liability (and In Carlile's view a confidentiality clause).

If the case had been pursued in court, either the allegation would have been found to be proved on the balance of probabilities, or not proved. Neither outcome would firmly establish Bishop Bell's innocence.

The big problem is the bungled process which led to the initial statement. The process can't be re-run. The Archbishop of Canterbury can't categorically assert Bishop Bell's innocence and clear his name. The most he can say is that the core group failed to give proper consideration to all the evidence, and that the claim against Bishop Bell might not have stood up in court.

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Barnabas62
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I suspect it was a failure of nerve, Martin. ++Justin did not want another horrible cause celebre, and the associated publicity. Nor do I think they were sure about what else might crawl out of the woodwork as a result of that publicity. Choosing to believe the accuser may well have been pragmatic. And you are quite right about historical systemic and process failures.

I guess he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. At least that's probably what it felt like.

[ 24. January 2018, 11:56: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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L'organist
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That just won't do to say it is a failure of nerve, for the simple reason that the Archbishop was offered the position he holds, and he accepted it, to provide leadership - that is the whole reason for there being an Archbishop: to be a leader for the faithful and a leading pastor for his flock, lay and ordained.

If the current incumbent of the post either doesn't feel able to offer that leadership, or feels he hasn't within himself the qualities to offer it, then we're in a position of being rudderless, at the very least.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
That just won't do to say it is a failure of nerve, for the simple reason that the Archbishop was offered the position he holds, and he accepted it, to provide leadership - that is the whole reason for there being an Archbishop: to be a leader for the faithful and a leading pastor for his flock, lay and ordained.

If the current incumbent of the post either doesn't feel able to offer that leadership, or feels he hasn't within himself the qualities to offer it, then we're in a position of being rudderless, at the very least.

That is the case if for you, this is the one cause that is the deal-breaker, the thing on which he stands and falls. Either you conclude he has got this right. You therefore accept his leadership in all things. Or you conclude he has got this wrong. In that case, for you, he is a busted flush on everything else.

Do you, though, accept that for some of the rest of us, this is merely one cause among many? That involves accepting that one of the pains both of leadership and being led is 'win some, lose some'.

Alternatively, had you already decided that you don't reckon much to him generally? If so, this is just another reason that confirms you in your poor opinion of him. But then, are you being entirely fair if you should describe his handling of this particular issue as the reason why you think he should resign and you regard the church as rudderless?

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L'organist
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No, it is not a case of any one thing being a 'deal-breaker', but I find it worrying that on an issue where the church (CofE) is especially vulnerable because of past mistakes, mishandling and prevarication, such a mess has been made and that there seems to be so little awareness of the importance of getting it right.

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L'organist
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In fact I've just now logged on for my latest fix with Archbishop Cranmer and found this which expresses my anxieties far better.

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Gee D
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To repeat: Lord Carlile did not consider whether Bp Bell had committed these assaults or not. He was concerned with the process followed to determine the compensation claim. so it's perfectly OK for +++Cantaur and anyone else to offer their own opinion as to whether or not Bp Bell did assault the claimant while still endorsing the report.

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
In fact I've just now logged on for my latest fix with Archbishop Cranmer and found this which expresses my anxieties far better.

See, that article is exactly why I'm increasingly wondering what the point of bothering on a Sunday morning is. (Content, not form or analysis - I agree with Mr Sewell throughout).

If things are that bad, which they (IMO) are, then I'm struggling with how the whole thing - religion - is any more than a human construct built on sand. Maybe I'm just in a bad place at the moment. The CofE increasingly looks like idiots leading people who knows where. Very good parish clergy, including my own, excepted.

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And is it true? For if it is....

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Martin60
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Please bother. For me. I don't go.


I should be able to soon. It will do my head in, but I need to learn to worship with other wretches even though I hate half the words. May be the wind will blow a little.

I pray it, He does for you. Now. I did.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
To repeat: Lord Carlile did not consider whether Bp Bell had committed these assaults or not. He was concerned with the process followed to determine the compensation claim. so it's perfectly OK for +++Cantaur and anyone else to offer their own opinion as to whether or not Bp Bell did assault the claimant while still endorsing the report.

It's not OK Gee D. Not OK at all. He has NO IDEA. And I speak from head spinning experience.

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Love wins

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