Category Archives: Law

The incredible kid

The following is on The Freedoms Project blog. Recommended reading.

Just how ‘credible’ was The Kid’s testimony against Pell? [What follows is hard-going but I recommend you read it all and get to the end. The truth is revealed.]

I’ve been poring over the publicly available information on the Pell case. There is the transcript of the appeal verdict, Pell v The Queen [2019] VSCA 186 (21 August 2019). There is the less reliable book by Louise Milligan. There are news reports from the committal hearing, but there is no direct testimony, as the transcript of the trial is not available. The appeal verdict is the most useful, since it contains actual and paraphrased evidence on the most contentious aspects of the testimony. [Note that direct quotes from the appeal judgement will be in parentheses, have a paragraph number and be in italics – any added emphasis is mine.]

Read on…

WHAT'S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BRUCE PASCOE AND CARDINAL PELL?

Bruce Pascoe’s history of the Aboriginals before European settlement is the way the story should be. His DARK EMU is the story that best fits the times and the prevailing ‘moral’ mood. Cardinal Pell is in jail convicted of child sexual abuse because that’s the way the story should be. That’s the story that suits the mood and the feelings of his accusers. The established and observable detail makes no difference in both cases. Those established and observable details just give one particular scenario of what is alleged true and just. It is a narrative that has no privilege.

One may ask where this madness comes from. Well, the immediate source is the academic precinct where the purveyors of Marxism and postmodernism tell their students what to say and think. More remote is the dialectic of Hegel whose metaphysics has a line back to the Greek Heraclitus. The idea is that reality is in constant flux, constant change. In Marx’s materialist dialectic reality is conflictual.

Hegel, and Marx following him, proposed that the world is not only in flux but constantly evolving. The social ‘truths’ of Marx’s superstructure are generated by the production relations and economic base. If the base is bad, so are the ‘truths’. Capitalism, a market economy for most of us, is a very bad base. In time, we will evolve (perhaps with some violent help) away from that badness.

Of course, few people who swallow the Marxist and postmodernist scenarios will be ready to defend their social creed with chapter and verse of their Scripture. No, most have only a vague idea of the theoretical tangle. But they have a concrete-solid mentality and they feel the vibe. That’s the important thing.

That’s why Louise Milligan does not reply to criticism of her poisonous book about Cardinal Pell. Nor does she answer the heavy criticism of the court case and the appeal by legal academics and professionals around the world. We’re all just a pack of unfeeling monsters who sympathise with clerical paedophiles rather than the victims – heartless people who don’t feel the prescribed vibe.

The same holds for Bruce Pascoe who refuses to explain why he calls himself indigenous when the records shows no Aboriginal origin. Indeed, the records show, as does his pink complexion, that his ancestors come from the British Isles.

All this explains why Australia finds itself in 2019 dumbed-down and degraded. We are in an age of unreason.

Pell case: ‘Accusation is proof’

Accusation as Proof: Uncorroborated Historic Sexual Abuse Allegations

Professor Dennis J. Baker, University of Cambridge, Cambridge

Abstract

This paper examines the potential miscarriage of justice upheld in the Supreme Court of Victoria in Pell v The Queen. Firstly, the alibi evidence produced by the defence team was sufficient to make the probability of Cardinal Pell not having an opportunity to perpetrate the crimes a real issue. Once an alibi had been made an issue the Crown had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was no probability above 15 per cent that Cardinal Pell had an alibi — not rely on the defence submission that there was a 100 per cent probability of no alibi because of impossibility. The evidence at a minimal demonstrated that the alibi was at least probable: even a conservative estimate would allow a fact-finder to safely conclude that there was 35 per cent probability that Cardinal Pell could not have been alone with the complainant. It might be difficult to argue that it was more probable than not that Cardinal Pell had an alibi, but the evidence shows that the probability of Cardinal Pell having a valid alibi was too high (even if short of a 50 per cent probability) for the reasonable doubt standard of proof to be satisfied. Secondly, there was at a least 35 per cent probability that second sexual attack alleged by the complainant could not have been perpetrated in the circumstances described by the complainant. Thirdly, Ferguson, C.J. and Maxwell, P. did not apply the beyond reasonable doubt standard to these probabilities. Instead, they erroneously held that since what the complainant had alleged could possibility have happened as described by the complainant the Crown had proved beyond reasonable doubt that these things did happen. This was to misinterpret and misapply the law concerning the quantum of proof required in criminal cases. The fact that there was a real possibility that what the complainant alleged could have happened does not prove that there was an 85 per cent an above probability that it did happen, which is what the beyond reasonable doubt standard requires. It requires such strong evidence that any objective fact-finder reviewing the evidence would 85 times out of 100 conclude that they are sure that the person is guilty.

1. Introduction

In this paper, I want to examine the issue of proof raised by the recent appeal to the Supreme Court of Victoria in Pell v. The Queen. 1 Following decades of child sex abuse scandals and the emerging culture of “accusation is proof,” some campaigners have argued for legal reforms to increase the number of convictions. The Guardian newspaper has reported that the Children’s Commissioner for England “has suggested lowering the burden of proof in cases of child sex abuse to the civil standard of balance of probabilities.”2 A balance of probabilities standard of proof would lead to many wrongful convictions. Given the current culture of accusation is proof, might the law now be powerless to prevent some innocent people from being convicted?

If accusation by convincing storytelling is all that is needed as proof in historic sex offences cases, then criminal justice risks adopting an approach of it is better to convict a few innocent people than let one guilty person go free. A convincing raconteur might convince even the most seasoned professionals of his or her lies. Carl Beech superlatively demonstrated the power of convincing storytelling when he convinced senior police, journalists, MPs, lawyers and others that Sir Edward Heath, Lord Bramall and Harvey Proctor MP, among others, committed sex offences against him when he was a child. Remarkably, the police said his allegations were credible and carried out an investigation over many years ruining the lives and distinguished careers of some of those who were subject to the false allegations. Politicians (including the current Deputy Leader of the Labour Party),3 journalists, police and other MPs all took his claims as very credible.4

Read on…

The contemptible overrated Derryn Hinch

Long-time radio personality  Derryn Hinch said on Twitter that Abbott’s visit to Cardinal Pell on Monday was a “disgrace and a cruel insult to his victims”. Before looking at this irrational outburst, typical of Hinch, let me review the character of Derryn Hinch as I have observed him through the years.

Like me, Hinch is a baby-boomer, born in 1944. He is two years older. A more significant tag, though, is that Hinch is a 60s-generation-sexual-revolution lad. Evidence of the 60s-generation mentality is his five marriages without issue. Being a lad of the 1960s, one would expect a string of carefree sexual encounters – certainly expected of someone in a media power position. Was there sexual impropriety in any of those encounters? The following appears in Wikepedia’s entry about Hinch.

In his 2004 book The Fall and Rise of Derryn Hinch, and in a radio editorial in March 2005, Hinch admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old female when he was in his early thirties, although he stated he “thought she was about 25”. Following his on-air admission, Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt called for his prosecution. In 2013 Hinch wrote that after 30 years the woman had contacted him and said he was wrong about her age. She said she was born in 1961 and they met shortly after he joined 3AW in 1979. That made her 17 at the time of the liaison (which is above the age of consent in Australia).

Continue reading The contemptible overrated Derryn Hinch

‘We will get you, Pell, no matter what’

Under the heading Cardinal Pell’s appeal to go to High Court, Peter Westmore reported the news about the High Court Appeal in News Weekly on 16 November. He summarises the course of events leading to the conviction of the Cardinal as well as raising serious issues about Victoria’s legal system.

What is new in this report is that ‘two women, Lil Sinozic and Jean Cornish, who worked at the cathedral at the time have come forward to say that they believed the allegations were “impossible”.’ See their testimony below.

What I find particularly significant is their claim that after Mass protestors holding placards shouted ‘PELL, GO TO HELL’. and ‘WE WILL GET YOU, NO MATTER WHAT’ while the Cardinal was greeting Mass goers.

All the evidence points to collusion and tight organization behind the unceasing vilification of George Pell with the uncompromising and non-negotiable object of ‘getting him’, of destroying him. The evidence points to the hierarchy of Victoria police and the Andrews government as players – among others less visible. What part, for example, did former members of the homosexual Rainbow Sash Movement play? They have succeeded beyond their dreams.

Continue reading ‘We will get you, Pell, no matter what’

Getting into the warped mind of Daniel Andrews

Tony Abbott visited his friend Cardinal Pell who has been in solitary confinement for months on end for crimes many people here in Australia and around the world refuse, on the evidence, to believe he committed. Indeed, some of us think Australia has descended into a Alfred Dreyfus phase of justice – meaning no justice.

Leaving aside a probable case of a miscarriage justice, surely there is nothing wrong in Abbott’s visit, as there would not be for anyone visiting a prison inmate. No sane person, no person who governs himself according to the ordinary rules of reason, would find a problem here, neither in terms of logic or fairness. Not Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria. Reason does not come into it.

Continue reading Getting into the warped mind of Daniel Andrews

Cardinal Pell’s supernumerary torture

I thought all sympathy and compassion for Cardinal Pell had disappeared from the public square . Indeed, It seemed the malice and malevolence of the Pell lynch mob monopolised the space.

So it is a tribute to Professor Mirko Bagaric, director of the Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project at Swinburne University, for publicly showing some compassion for the Cardinal – and for the Australian in publishing his views about the Cardinal’s circumstances. Professor Bagaric has pointed out what many of us have realised. Cardinal Pell is undergoing a supernumerary torture at the hands of the State of Victoria. He writes:

People should be sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment. Research shows that prisoners subjected to long periods of solitary confinement often suffer irreparable long-term mental and physical harm. George Pell is being subjected to modern-day torture by his prison conditions. They are grounds for a strong argument that he should be granted bail pending the outcome of his appeal to the High Court.

Pell has reportedly spent all of the time he has been incarcerated (almost nine months) in solitary confinement at the Melbourne Remand Centre. He is let out of his cell for just an hour a day. That such a high-profile Australian is being subjected to these brutal conditions should be the catalyst we need to start the debate to abolish the use of this form of incarceration for all Australian prisoners…

Studies show supermax confinement — particularly isolation of more than 15 days — has long-term detrimental effects on mental health of prisoners, including insomnia, panic, hallucinations, suicidal impulses, feelings of hopelessness and paranoia. The highest rates of prison suicide and self-harm occur among those in solitary confinement.

When inmates are placed in isolation or supermax units, they are also at risk of physical harm. Lack of exposure to sunlight can cause vitamin D deficiency, making inmates more susceptible to falls and fractures. The near total absence of movement and exercise exacerbates conditions such heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. The physical harm caused by solitary confinement often results in long-term disabilities and additional longer-term healthcare costs. This is especially the case with elderly prisoners. Pell is 78.

Now Pell’s appeal has been referred to the Full Court of the High Court, his prospects of bail are stronger. Appeal bail will be granted only in exceptional circumstances (Marotta v R [1999] HCA) and it is a hard test to satisfy. However, an important relevant factor is whether an acquittal would make the benefit of the acquittal hollow.

It is likely the circumstances of Pell’s confinement have already caused him significant psychological and physical harm. The extent of his suffering is likely to be exacerbated the longer he remains in isolation. That harm is probably irreversible.

The strength of any bail application would be enhanced by the fact there is a reasoned dissenting judgment by Justice Weinberg, and that Pell is not a flight risk.

Supermax and isolation units should be abolished. We can protect prisoners from other prisoners in ways that do not involve barbaric conditions: employ more prison officers. The additional cost would be less damaging than the moral stain stemming from the deliberate infliction of intense, ­unnecessary pain on inmates.

Could the Andrews government just for a moment break from its class’s malevolence towards all things Catholic and do the compassionate and just thing – FREE CARDINAL PELL ON BAIL while he awaits the High Court process.

Chris Friel analyses Milligan’s ‘Cardinal’

Academic Chris Friel, on the other side of the world in Cornwall, has produced a series of permanently relevant articles on the conviction of Cardinal Pell. His latest is a forensic analyses of Louise Milligan’s book CARDINAL. Milligan’s book has been a boon for Australia’s army of anti-Catholic bigots.

Milligan’s Cardinal

By Chris S Friel

Introduction. In this paper I will critically review Louise Milligan’s Cardinal, drawing chiefly on the 2019 edition published after Pell’s conviction in 2018 for child sex abuse. The subtitle reads, New Revelations, The Rise and Fall of George Pell. The first edition was published in 2017. The book by the renowned ABC journalist was the primary instrument in the “trial by media,” and very plausibly, it softened up the jury – despite the fact that it was removed just before the police pressed charges against the accused. As my review will make clear, I regard the book as a malign influence.

We can cite the blurb to make some opening remarks. Thus we learn that “Pell’s ascendancy was seemingly unstoppable … But … Louise Milligan pieces together decades of disturbing activities highlighting Pell’s actions and cover-ups. The book is a testament to the most intimate stories of complainants.” My review will address the “actions” rather than the supposed “cover-ups,” for such actions are relevant to the two trials Pell faced: the “swimmers trial” relating to indecency alleged in the 1970s, and the “cathedral trial” in which a jury found Pell guilty. Arguably, it was in bringing such actions to “light” that Milligan stopped Pell’s ascendency. To all this we can add the blurb from Senator Derryn Hinch, “This book is one of the most forensic, explosive, historically detailed tomes I have ever read.”

We take such words as our cue. We hope to explode the pretensions of Milligan’s work and subject those historical details to rational scrutiny. The word “forensic,” actually, is etymologically linked to the word “forum,” and so pertains to the public square. We hope our rational scrutiny will prove forensic in the full sense of the word.

Read on…

Madame defarge speaks – again

The Guardian Australia in its report of the Pell High Court appeal sounded out the ubiquitous Chrissie Foster for her reaction. It was the usual stuff from the pale Madame Defarge of the Pell case. There was no way she would let the opportunity pass. The Cardinal should be marched directly to the blade. All that justice stuff is injustice.

Chrissie Foster, whose daughters were abused by the pedophile priest Kevin O’Donnell and who detailed a lack of support from Pell when she reported the offending to the church, said she was “devastated” by the court’s decision.

“The more I think about it the more devastated I feel about it,” she said. “It’s so hard to get a conviction of this crime against children. This case got that conviction. Now it’s going out of Victoria to the high court to be rehashed over.

“George has had the best of everything, the best defence money can buy, the best county court judge, and three top minds in the appellate court judges who heard the first appeal. And it feels now it’s all back to square one. It really is upsetting. What do we have to do to have this conviction stick?”

The cardinal Pell I know

The Catholic weekly published an article by Samuel Brebner, a 23-year-old Catholic from New Zealand. Among other comments, he said this about Cardinal Pell.

I worked for Cardinal Pell in 2012, as part of a gap year I did with an organisation called NET (National Evangelisation Teams) in Australia. I, along with five other young Catholic adults, were assigned to the Sydney Team. Our full-time job was to do youth ministry in the archdiocese; running high school retreats, organising youth groups, and helping out at large-scale events.

Right from the moment I arrived in Australia, what struck me about Cardinal Pell was the stark differences in the attitudes people held towards him. To some, Pell was a monster, a man who embodied everything bad about that Catholic church and who had allegedly been complicit in covering up sexual abuse by Australian priests.

Continue reading The cardinal Pell I know