It’s never ‘tough’ to pick on the dead

The Mail on Sunday - - Comment -

THE spirit of jus­tice seems to be dead in many parts of this coun­try. I al­ways dis­liked Ted Heath but I am re­volted by the po­lice treat­ment of him, and by some pub­lic re­ac­tion to it.

The po­lice do not de­cide guilt or in­no­cence. No man should be con­demned with­out a hear­ing and we are all in­no­cent un­til proven guilty.

Have we for­got­ten th­ese an­cient Bri­tish rules? I hope not. Now I gather that the Church of Eng­land’s hi­er­ar­chy are trem­bling in their cas­socks about a re­port (soon to be pub­lished) into their dis­grace­ful smear­ing of the late Bishop Ge­orge Bell, a man of real courage and prin­ci­ple who makes them look like pyg­mies.

To ap­pear as if they were tough on to­day’s real pae­dophiles (which they aren’t), th­ese prelates con­demned Bishop Bell on the ba­sis of a soli­tary un­cor­rob­o­rated al­le­ga­tion made decades af­ter the al­leged crime. Black­en­ing the names of dead men to boost your own rep­u­ta­tion is a pretty wretched thing to do.

We can only pun­ish it with con­tempt. But we should pun­ish it all the same, or no­body is safe.

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