Justice at Last for Cardinal Pell By Ian Wilson LL.B

     At last something else to make the news other than that blasted coronavirus, which is giving me the pips. Finally, the High Court of Australia has quashed Cardinal Pell’s previous conviction for allegedly sexually abusing two teenage choirboys. The High court did not engage in high theory, but went back to look at the evidence. Was it reasonable to suppose that the accused could abuse two boys, while he was fully robed, in a matter of minutes? No, it was held.

“The High Court’s 44-page unanimous judgment amounts to a primer for the judiciary, particularly in Victoria, on how criminal justice is supposed to work. That primer was needed: if an innocent man can be jailed without a proper basis in law, nobody is safe. The pain for Victoria does not end there. Pell’s tormentors in the media will need to re-examine the way they engaged in years of character assassination that has left them looking foolish. The state government cannot escape the fallout. Victoria should join NSW by allowing high-profile criminal matters to be heard by a judge alone — without the assistance of a potentially biased jury. The worst aspect of this case is that Victorian legislation meant the Pell jury was denied the full story about the man who claimed to have been assaulted by the cardinal. Relevant evidence about the complainant was kept from the jury by virtue of legislation that was put in place with the clear intention of protecting those who claim to be victims of sexual assault. The Pell jury was never told that the complainant had a history of psychological problems that required treatment. Nor were they told that Pell’s legal team was rebuffed in court — in the absence of the jury — when they attempted to gain access to records showing the extent of this man’s psychological problems.

That episode is outlined in the special leave application that was filed in the High Court by Pell’s legal team, led by Bret Walker SC. During the trial, it would have been a contempt of court for anyone to reveal this incident.
That application, which is a public document on file with the High Court, says “the applicant (Pell) could not tell the jury that the complainant had had psychological treatment and the applicant had been denied the ability to obtain records of it”. That needs to change.”

     Indeed, it does, because the criminal justice system cannot function as it should like this. Likewise, the media who engage in witch hunts of any high-level Christians, whom they think can be tarred with the brush of sexual abuse, need to be pulled back in line. Of course, there has been shocking sexual abuse within the church, but all the more reason to be very careful not to hastily discredit legitimate complaints.

“Australian taxpayer dollars have been used to carry out one of the worst media witch-hunts and miscarriages of justice in Australian history. Exhibit A our state broadcaster the ABC, they have had Pell in their sights for years. Peter West has written in Quadrant magazine “The vituperation towards Lindy Chamberlain was as nothing compared to the campaign against Cardinal Pell.” Pell became the most loathed person in the nation, driven by  … the hard left at the ABC. The standard of reasonable doubt has been proven to have not met and numerous times it was shown to be beyond the realm of possibility. The prosecution case tested entirely on the accuser, nothing more. There was no supporting evidence of any kind. The whole farce should never have been put to trial by Victoria Police and the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions. But the hard-left warriors at the ABC revealed and frothed at the mouth to go after another traditionalist and conservative. It is what our taxpayer dollars are used for: the church are bigots, conservatives are racists and Australia is deeply racist, our borders must not be defended, private schools are unfair, all Aboriginal problems are because of whitey’s sticking their boots in, gender is fluid and so on. They sprout for socialism and marvel at its wonders despite being a disaster everywhere it has ever been tried. If you replicate the day on when the child sexual abuse is said to have happened at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996, Pell escapes the notice of other clergymen in the procession, culls down two choir boys, sexually abuses them in around six to eight minutes while fully vested and then returns in front of the cathedral to greet attendees as if nothing has happened and all of which escapes the notice of anyone. Nothing is said for decades. The defence presented a whole army of witnesses who said the crime could never have happened. The discrepancies and inconsistencies were astounding.”


     Agreed, but shouldn’t the jury have picked up on that? Does this show a fundamental fault in the jury system as some are now arguing?

     The problem here is that there was a limited amount of relevant evidence presented to the jury, especially  evidence of the psychological problems of the key accuser. So, the jury is only as good as the evidence it is given. In fact, the Victorian Court of Appeal reached the same conclusion on that limited basis of evidence. Thus, it is not the fault of the jury system, but the legislation. At fault too is the media who had poisoned the waters with vicious attacks upon the character of a great Christian man, giving us a repeat of the Lindy Chamberlain situation, as no jury can be insulated from the on slaughter once the media meat grinder gets rolling. And for Pell, it rolled over-time. Cardinal Pell is now free, but the entire circus has no doubt damaged what remains of his life. Shame.



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Saturday, 20 July 2024

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