The definition of justice varies from individual, to individual, depending upon what has happened, how it has affected that individual, and also on how it has affected the societal group that he or she belongs to.
The Law Dictionary defines justice as:
“Protecting rights and punishing wrongs using fairness. It is possible to have unjust laws, even with fair and proper administration of the law of the land as a way for all legal systems to uphold this ideal.”
Law Dictionary: What is JUSTICE? definition of JUSTICE (Black’s Law Dictionary)
So you are probably asking why I am discussing this topic, and as you can probably guess it is because of an article written in one of our daily newspapers, in this case The Telegraph: ‘The Church, the police and the unholy destruction of Bishop Bell’
I have to state that I have no knowledge of Bishop Bell, or of the case that is outlined in the news article, indeed in terms of religion I am an atheist – but open to discussion. My problem with religion is that man is involved, and to often man has used religion as a means to elevate themselves above the ordinary being.
So to get back to the article; Charles Moore, the writer of the article writes critically on how it appears that church in an attempt of heading off bad publicity, has decided that Bishop Bell is ‘guilty’ of a sexual crime without there having been a court case to assess the evidence. Indeed the Church has gone even further, in that it has demoted Bishop Bell, flowers placed on his memorial in the cathedral are removed, and what was the ‘George Bell house’ (a centre for vocation, education and reconciliation) is to be renamed shortly.
The fact that the church has jumped in with both feet, instead of following the due process of law, is why I have an argument with the Church.
The key legal principle – the presumption of innocence – is being set aside’
I believe in justice, but justice must be seen to be done fairly and without favour to one side or the other. I will leave you with the last paragraph from Charles Moore’s article…
Justice is not guaranteed by passionate feeling against a particular, horrible crime such as child abuse. It depends absolutely on proper process. When public bodies set that process aside, what trust or “transparency” is left? If Bishop Bell had been a Nazi war criminal, the charges against him would have had to reach a far higher standard of proof than those by which the Church of England has destroyed him. The restoration of justice should be its New Year resolution.