Many powerful compelling pieces have been written attacking and deploring Cardinal Pell’s conviction for the sexual abuse of two minors. Noteworthy are Keith Windschuttle’s and Andrew Bolt’s demonstration that the alleged abuse was impossible given the complainant’s timeline. In his article below, retired lawyer Anthony Charles Smith raises frightening questions about Australia’s legal system and the competence of those on the bench. Like many others, he points out that the Pell conviction shows nobody is safe in Australia at the moment. The article appeared in the September issue of Annals Australasia.
A BLIGHT ON THE WHOLE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
By Anthony Charles Smith
I am not a Roman Catholic and don’t write this from any religious perspective but rather these days as a retired barrister very troubled by the charging and conviction of George Pell.
I spent nearly thirty years of my working life at the Bar to 2013, a substantial quantity of that practice was as a defence barrister. I have read the particulars of the allegations against the accused Cardinal George Pell and the circumstances in which they were made. I have also read Frank Brennan’s analysis of the evidence presented at the trial. I have read opinions on the trial such as that of the left-wing barrister Greg Barns and the author John Silvester in “The Age”. I have read the relevant portions of the Court of Appeal’s majority judgment and the dissenting judgment. I have also read Paul Kelly’s lengthy article in the “Weekend Australian” following the decision of the Court of Appeal.
In the 1980s and early 90s, I say without the slightest hesitation that these allegations would have been given short shrift by competent, experienced Crown Prosecutors. They lack any corroboration, are fanciful beyond rational belief and contain within them internal inconsistencies of an irreconcilable nature as to time, opportunity, practicality, place and circumstance.Continue reading A BLIGHT ON THE WHOLE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM