Support for Barnabas Aid director

08 May 2015

PA

Curfew: Swindon Crown Court 

Curfew: Swindon Crown Court 

DR PATRICK SOOKHDEO is to remain international director of Barnabas Aid International, it has been confirmed.

Dr Sookhdeo was convicted in February of sexual assault and intimidating two witnesses (News, 27 February). Swindon Crown Court sentenced him to a three-month community order, placed him under a three-month curfew, and fined him £3500 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £60.

Dr Sookhdeo continues to protest his innocence, and intends to appeal against the sentence.

Dr Vinay Samuel, vice-chair of Barnabas Aid International, part of the Barnabas Fund UK, said last week that Dr Sookhdeo had offered his resignation to the board of trustees, but the board had confirmed his position as international director. Before Dr Sookhdeo's conviction in Swindon, he had been cleared by an internal inquiry.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Dr Samuel said: "I am satisfied with the board's judgment that Patrick is innocent of the charges made against him." He suggested that "the judgment of the court sent a mixed message in the very mild sentence he was awarded."

He spoke of there being a conspiracy to destroy Dr Sookhdeo's ministry and undermine the Barnabas Fund.

His view was also shared by "key Anglican leaders in the UK", Dr Samuel said; and "many senior Christian leaders in the non-Western world, who are aware of the charges, have conveyed their dismay . . . and assured him and the BF trustees of their full support."

The Barnabas Fund, and Barnabas Aid International, were much bigger than one person, he said. "Patrick leads a team of gifted and dedicated people. It would be unfortunate if support for their critically important work is undermined in any way. I am very encouraged that support for the work has not diminished in any way. It is growing." Dr Samuel also confirmed that Dr Sookhdeo was meeting the costs of his defence from his own personal resources.

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