Published On: January 11, 2022 at 12:07 IST
Eight men who accused pedophile Barry Bennell of abuse more than 30 years ago, suffered a loss in the Court in their case against Manchester City as the High Court judge ruled that the Manchester City could not be held responsible for Bennell’s actions.
The men, now in their 40s and 50s, accused Bennell, now 68, of abusing them when they were playing schoolboy football for teams he coached in north-west England between 1979 and 1985.
Mr. Justice Johnson, who was hearing the matter, said in the written judgement that despite there being a good explanation for the delay, the claims were brought in quite late for there to be a fair trial at the club. He further said that the connection between the abuse and the Bennell’s relationship with Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) was insufficient to give rise to vicarious liability.
Mr. Justice Johnson also said that although the relationship with MCFC gave the pedophile an opportunity, the MCFC had in no way entrusted him with welfare of the claimants.
David McClenaghan, who is representing the claimants in this case assured that they will appeal against the decision as it was shocking and based on a mere technicality.
Bennell, who is serving a 34-year jail term after being convicted on five separate occasions of child sexual abuse offences against 22 boys, had given evidence in favour of MCFC, denying being linked to the MCFC during the 1980s. Although, his evidence was denied by Justice Johnson on the grounds that he was a “manipulative liar” and “not a credible witness.
The Court has held that even if his relationship with MCFC is taken to be akin to employment, his abuse of the claimants did not take place in the course of that employment.