Category Archives: Law

Was it incompetence? Ideology? spinelessness?

From the moment the news broke that Victoria Police intended to charge Cardinal with the sexual abuse of two 13-year-olds in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral directly after the inaugural High Mass for his appointment as Archbishop of Melbourne, most without investment in the cardinal’s guilt scoffed at the idea. The idea that a man of George Pell’s conservative character and habits could commit such grisly deeds in such fraught circumstances was preposterous.

Of course, the legion of Pell-Haters, some sickening to mental and emotional derangement, were jubilant. Whatever the insanity of the charges, Cardinal Pell belonged in jail. That was the way things should be in our socially enlightened society.

A tight analogy would be claiming gay activist Alan Joyce, appointed to head up one of Australia’s icons, QANTAS, sneaked off during his inaugural celebrations and forced a child of an employee to engage in oral sex. The idea is insane – just as insane as the idea that Cardinal Pell would jeopardise everything about him and his achievements in such a wanton act.

The fact that most people gauge their reaction to a person on his known character was of no account for the police, the jury in the second trial, and for the majority judgement in the Cardinal’s Appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Nor was the fact of no direct corroborative evidence of any account. Nor was the necessary alignment of many points of organization and routine of a High Mass of any account. Nor was the worldwide critical analysis of the case by people at least as intelligent as the appeal judges of any account. Nor was the detailed judgement of the third appeal judge, Mark Weinberg, who smashed the majority judgement of any account. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Justice Christ Maxwell found Cardinal Pell’s protected anonymous accuser ‘credible’ and dismissed Cardinal Pell’s appeal in a flimsy judgement that reeks of arrogance and self-importance.

Continue reading Was it incompetence? Ideology? spinelessness?

Karen Sweeney – Bigotry at AAP

Karen Sweeney working for Australian Associated Press (AAP) is another ‘journalist’ who churns out the bigot’s news on Cardinal Pell’s High Court Appeal. This is the way she begins her report (Pell’s wait on High Court decision begins) of the submissions by Cardinal Pell’s lawyer Brad Walker and Prosecutor Kerri Judd (12th).

Disgraced Cardinal George Pell faces a further wait to learn whether his last-ditch bid for freedom has paid off or he’ll stay behind bars for years.

‘The High Court hasn’t yet granted the pedophile permission to appeal his five convictions for sexually abusing two choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996.’

The gratuitous ‘disgraced’ and ‘pedophile’ immediately signals where she stands on Australia’s Alfred Dreyfus Affair.

She then goes on to give a slapdash report, placing a positive gloss on the prosecutor’s submission whom she obviously supports, as all journalists of her ilk do. Ideology, whatever degree of feminism consumes her, dictates the content and colour of her reporting.

Cardinal Pell represents everything about patriarchy she and her feminist cohorts despise. He should be in jail for that alone.

This sort of ideologically distorting reporting with its gratuitous insults is equivalent to lying.

Sweeney, like her feminist pals, has ignored the enormous contention worldwide about this case, many senior and academic lawyers expressing doubt about the running of the case, some outraged by what they call unabashed injustice. You would think on that ground alone Sweeney would be circumspect in her reporting. But, no, ideology and destruction of the patriarchy go before all else.

Apart from that, the case still has not been concluded. She and her fellow bigots just cannot hold back until the High Court Appeal concludes, can they?

AAP is owned by three Australian news organisations – News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment Co., and Seven West Media. Nine owns 47%, News owns 45%, and Seven West 8%. Together these companies produce the vast majority of Australian newspapers.

Will the High Court show Australian law has reached rock bottom?

La Trobe University law professor Patrick Keyzer believes it will, not that she said it in those words. What amounted to the same thing, she told Chip Legrand in today’s Sydney Morning Herald that the High Court will likely dismiss the appeal – and keep an innocent man in jail. The Australian system of law has failed so dramatically in Cardinal Pell’s case that I fear she could be right.

Does this academic lawyer understand that a High Court dismissal will cause an explosion of contempt around the world for Australia? Probably not. She appears so wrapped up in her academic bubble that the Cardinal’s fate is of no account. As long as the technical processes of the law are satisfied, what could she care?

A dismissal will rock and split Australia for decades to come.

Restating the critical evidence

Today Chris Friel posted a short ‘Restatement of a Significant Piece of Evidence in the Pell Case’.

“He didn’t say in evidence or committal or anywhere that the wine bottle was in the sink area. He said it was in the alcove area … So he always maintained that the wine bottle was there in the alcove. He never maintained it was in that new sink area we know exists now.” 
– Mark Gibson, Closing Address.

In the Crown’s closing address to the jury the Crown made much of this indication, and the Crown have repeated the “significant” point in their submission to the High Court. However, in a number of papers now I have argued that beyond reasonable doubt these claims are factually incorrect. No doubt, after it became apparent that the “new sink area” was once a wardrobe, the story shifted and was then maintained consistently. It had to because, not only does the idea of finding wine in the wardrobe gives the lie to the claim that the complainant was remembering the place as it was in 1996, but also it indicates embarrassingly, that this so-called knowledge dates from after 2004 implying that the complainant must have been coached somehow.

In a single page I intend to point out the basis on which I argue my claims. There are five strands.

Read the rest HERE

Defying the reasoning of everyday life

John Ferguson in his acceptably balanced commentary on the Pell case in the Australian of 7 March gets one thing wrong. He says:

The prosecution also argues that Team Pell glosses over the quality of the evidence provided by A, who correctly identified the ­location of the first offending and correctly described the layout of the priests’ sacristy.

What evidence? In previous posts , I demonstrated how Keith Windschuttle and Chris Friel ripped to shreds the choirboy’s account of the priests’ sacristy. The choirboy described the sacristy as it was after alterations, not as it was in 1996. See the previous posts.

Ferguson covers what the legal professionals and academics think about the case. As someone for years immersed in the thought of Edmund Burke, I want to make a distinction between legal theory (abstract thinking) and what ordinary everyday reasoning tells one about the concrete world we live in.

Burke who made a distinction between the ‘politician in action’ and a professor of politics, said that the total reliance on abstract speculation in politics risked a destructive rupture between the concrete and the abstract. He compared the British Constitution (in the broad sense) that had formed over time with the actions of the French revolutionaries who were driven by theory. The dreadful excesses of the revolution were the result, as they were in the Russian Revolution driven my Marxism.

The High Court of Australia may reject the appeal on the basis of fine legal distinctions, but it won’t stop the ordinary person concentrating on the concrete circumstances, free from the obscurantism of legal theory and legal technique.

How can one believe that Cardinal Pell, notorious for his rigid views, a stickler for correct routine and ritual, and just risen to the exalted position of Archbishop of Melbourne, deviate from his characteristic behaviour and risk everything in a highly risky criminal act? It not only goes against his character and habits, but it defies a person fundamental reasoning powers. It is insane behaviour.

It is just as insane as suggesting gay activist Alan Joyce would abuse the son of one of his employees just when all were celebrating his rising to take control of one of Australia’s cultural icons.

Similarly, how could someone knowing the routine of a Catholic Solemn High Mass offered by an archbishop believe that the highly visible archbishop without his many attendants somehow exited the processional, passed a crowd of people unseen, and arrived at the priests’ sacristy where he had time to commit three sexual assaults? It is too much to believe – except for those with political and ideological investment.

In the long run, the issue is political and ideological. Cardinal Pell is a strong political and religious conservative. He is the common enemy of the left in politics and religion. There are many on the clerical left who hate his guts.

Appearance – nothing else – was enough to jail the cardinal

Millions upon millions of dollars have been lost to scammers because of appearance. Phone calls allegedly from the tax department and Microsoft Windows have netted heaps of money because they sounded convincing. Emails appearing to be from the major banks, cleverly composed and photoshopped, have also netted millions. Scammers, con artists, imposters, swindlers and the like succeed because they appear convincing.

Conning the innocent, the gullible and the bigoted will always provide a rich field for the petty crook and the malevolent political operator at the highest level. Keith Windschuttle, in his most recent piece (see previous post), quoted senior Crown prosecutor Christopher Boyce’s self-described reaction to the courtroom performance of Cardinal Pell’s accuser, the choirboy with the chocolate drop eyes. Boyce told the court:

The responses that you see there, not only that you read there, but did you see there — and the manner in which they’re delivered; at the end of those, one puts down one’s pen and stares blankly at the screen and is moved. At that point, in my respectful submission, any prima facie at least, any doubt that one might have had about the account, prima facie, is removed.

Is he serious? Is he fair dinkum – in the Aussie way? Of course , he’s not. It’s all theatre. Deceitful theatre. He is out to manipulate the feelings of those who, in this case, are willing to be manipulated. A nice effective con.

You can be sure the last thing Crown Prosecutor Christopher Boyce would do in his private life is accept people merely on appearance when much is personally at stake.

I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry asks George (Costanza) how he could live with himself after George barrelled his way through a kids party to escape a fire. George answered: ‘It’s not easy.’

One might wonder how easy it is for Chief Justice Anne Ferguson. One might ask whether she was serious when she said (also quoted in Windschuttle’s piece) of the choirboy’s performance:

Both the content of the answers, and the manner of their delivery, were said to be such as to eliminate any doubt a juror might have had.  In our view, this was a very significant part of [the choirboy’s] evidence.  It was rightly characterised as compelling, both because of the clarity and cogency of what [the choirboy] said and because of the complete absence of any indication of contrivance in the emotion which [the choirboy] conveyed when giving his answers.

I am reminded of those occasions when John McEnroe screamed at the court empire out of frustration: ‘You can’t be serious!’ The empires had better grounds for retort than the majority with their purple prose.

No unbiased person of normal intelligence trusts a person on mere appearance when much is personally at stake.

Patching up a dodgy Story

Keith Windschuttle’s latest essay on the Pell Affair, ‘How the Rome Interview changed Choirboy’s Story’ shows what an appalling farce of injustice Victoria Police and Louise Milligan made of the complainant’s story to make the case against Cardinal Pell stick.

It is essentially this. The choirboy spun one story of what happened, which was gobbled up by the police and Milligan. This story prevailed between 2015 and 2016 when the police interviewed the cardinal in Rome. It was the version that Cardinal Pell and his lawyers had received from the police before the meeting. There were huge problems with this story as Windschuttle points out, so big that the police had to patch over the problems. The second patched-up version was sprung on Cardinal Pell and his lawyer whose bemusement at the discrepancies between the two versions is evident in the video of the interview. Windschuttle concludes:

What this indicates is that the case against Pell was never some immutable truth embedded in the choirboy’s memory. It was an evolving story created by the police and their sole witness, which they treated as a work in progress, and one which they could, when confronted with obstacles or inconsistencies, change at will.

So the story that impressed the Crown prosecutor so much that he put down his pen and stared blankly at the screen was not the only version of these events told by the choirboy and those who coached him. Moreover, the later story was so different to the first version that it must have incorporated a whole new range of fictions about the timing and location of the alleged abuse, and who was doing what and when, all of which must have borne their own share of invention too. In other words, those who found the choirboy such an impressive witness were very easily persuaded.’

The willingness of the media to do their own patching-up (favourable to the ‘boy’) is demonstrated by Windschuttle’s quotation from Megan Palin’s piece on that grubby little woke online operation news.com.au/

Read the article here…

More about the liar

In previous posts, I reported that some information about Cardinal Pell’s accuser had leaked into the public realm despite Victoria’s courts placing a blanket ban on any public information. He has psychological issues. He accused another Catholic priest of abuse. The latter evidently went nowhere because his drooling lovesick defender Louise with her description of chocolate drop eyes, or some other nauseating amorous declaration, has not mentioned it. Now Paul Collits in the previous post about Victoria Police wrote:

‘Witness J [the accuser], whose real name, broadly known among those close to the Pell case including this writer, cannot be stated in public, was clearly central to the Police case against Pell.  Without Witness J, the case goes nowhere.  Yet Witness J is highly problematic.  His story changed over time, in important ways.  His book length character reference from Louise Milligan has been discredited by claims of a less than exemplary life, and there is even the suggestion that he wished to withdraw his complaint after the first Pell trial.’ 

This and other information about the accuser is obviously doing the rounds just below the surface of media reporting. So, the leak into the public sphere will continue despite the court’s efforts to bludgeon people into silence.

Where we are at: psychological issues, false accusations, and a less than exemplary life. It is the intimated background of his accusations against Cardinal Pell.

Victoria Police – Should we be afraid?

Paul Collits has again raised some deeply disturbing questions about Victoria Police’s role in the jailing of Cardinal George Pell, not the least of which is VicPol’s apparent campaign ‘to get Pell’. Collis’s ten questions must be answered to restore confidence in the state’s police force already rocked to it foundations by the frightening ‘Lawyer X Affair’.

Ten Sets of Questions for VicPol on the Pell Case

by Paul Collits, The Freedom Project website established and edited by Kathy Clubb

Whatever the outcome of the upcoming High Court appeal by Cardinal Pell against his conviction on sex abuse charges, and despite the continuing social media tirades against the man and the undying hatred expressed by Pell haters against his small band of public defenders, there has been a recent, ever-so-subtle turn in elite opinion towards the possibility of an Alfred Dreyfus/Lindy Chamberlain scenario here.  That the man may have been wrongly convicted.  This is evidenced by some support for Pell’s innocence from unlikely quarters, and suggests hope against hope for justice.  Andrew Bolt has commented on it.  Yet, despite these tentative signs of hope, and the pleasant surprise, against the odds, that the High Court even decided to hear an appeal, there is still a massive job of work to be done in order to restore the Cardinal’s reputation. 

There is also an astonishingly long list of unanswered questions about the Pell case, including questions about the highly unorthodox investigation undertaken by Victoria Police into his possible commission of acts of sex abuse against minors.

Indeed, one of the institutions clearly hoping for a final dismissal of Pell’s claims of a miscarriage of justice will be Victoria Police.  Whatever one thinks of the Court of Appeal majority judgement – and there has been an utter evisceration of that judgement by lawyers, scholars, Catholic and non-Catholic journalists, researchers and bloggers, not to mention by Mr Justice Weinberg in his powerful dissenting judgement – the organisation perhaps most invested in “getting Pell” is, without doubt, VicPol.

Read the rest HERE.

A Last Chance for Australian Justice

George Weigel, The Catholic World Report, 6 March 2020

For Cardinal Pell’s sake, and for Australia’s, it must be hoped that, for once, and on its last chance, the Australian justice system will get it right.

On March 11-12, the High Court of Australia will hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse.” The High Court has seven judges and a majority vote is required to decide an appeal. In a high-profile case like this, it is expected that all seven judges will sit for the appeal, although in some instances only five sit. There is no set time-line for the High Court to render its decision.

Should the High Court reverse Cardinal Pell’s conviction, a verdict of “acquitted” will be entered in his case and the cardinal will be immediately released from prison. Should the High Court uphold the conviction, the reputation of Australian criminal justice will be gravely and permanently damaged, just as the reputation of French military justice was destroyed by the false conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus – another innocent man victimized by rancid politics and irrational religious prejudice.

Read on…