Church members win cult libel damages

SIX members of the Essex-based Peniel Pentecostal Church have won libel damages from a Brentwood councillor who wrongly described the Church as a "cult" and danger to local people.

Anthony Galbraith was left facing undisclosed damages and legal bills after formally conceding that his accusations against the Church were "completely untrue".

The announcement at the High Court in London was a victory for the leader of the Church, Bishop Michael Reid, and five others who take a leading role in managing the registered charity. Their solicitor, Caroline Kean, told the court that the Church was a member of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches (ICCC) and the Evangelical Alliance.

Mr Reid was appointed to his bishopric by the ICCC College of Bishops. Mr Galbraith, an independent Conservative councillor, agreed to "apologise publicly" for the distress caused to Bishop Reid, Peter and Carolyn Linnecar, Andrew Love, Christopher Lincoln and Meidre Cleminson.