Category Archives: Law

George Pell and the Disappearing Priests

Keith Windschuttle, Quadrant, 18 February 2020

Yet another powerful article by Keith Windschuttle, utterly blowing apart the case against Cardinal Pell, and showing how very degraded Victoria’s justice system has become.

The Priests’ Sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne gets its name from the fact that it is where the priests robe and disrobe before and after Mass. Priests are normally part of the Sunday ceremony and the final procession out of the cathedral. They return to the priests’ sacristy along with the altar servers at the back of the procession, following the choir. (Some other altar servers lead the procession ahead of the choir.) When they arrive at the priests’ sacristy, the altar servers are engaged in their own separate duties of retrieving liturgical items from the cathedral sanctuary and storing them in the priests’ sacristy. In December 1996, when the Archbishop’s own sacristy was being refurbished, any concelebrant priests joined then Archbishop George Pell in robing and disrobing in the priests’ sacristy. The cathedral’s master of ceremonies, Charles Portelli, said that he could remember helping Pell to robe and disrobe when he first said Mass as Archbishop at his first Sunday Solemn Mass at the cathedral. Portelli added that concelebrant priests were present in the priests’ sacristy at the time Pell both robed and disrobed. [cited by Weinberg, minority judgment, Victorian Court of Appeal, paragraph 716] This was at the same time, and in the same room, that the choirboy claimed Pell sexually abused him and his friend.

[see also Keith Windschuttle: The Crown prosecutor’s bent trump card]

The sacristan responsible for the whole of the cathedral’s sacristy area, Max Potter, told the trial the concelebrant priests took part in the procession after Mass. They were positioned towards the rear of the procession, behind the choir. Potter added that these priests would disrobe in the priests’ sacristy after Mass, and remained there talking among themselves while waiting to farewell the Archbishop when he returned after meeting and greeting worshippers on the cathedral’s front steps.  This evidence was not challenged by the prosecution. [Weinberg, par 72] Here is the exchange between Pell’s defence counsel Robert Richter and Potter:

Q: Let’s put it this way. (To Potter) When you were not in the sacristy were you aware as to what the altar servers were doing? A: Taking things what I gave them from the sanctuary to put in the sacristy, and then they would come back out — out — out, and to see if there was anything else to come off the sanctuary.

Q: Would there have been more than — sorry, by then would the priests have arrived back from the procession? A: They would — they would arrive back and disrobe.

Q: And they disrobed in the priest sacristy? A: Sacristy, yes.

Q: And sometimes they would sit around and talk? A: Or waiting for the Archbishop to come back. Yes. …

Q: So, Monsignor Portelli comes back with the Archbishop. There are people in the sacristy waiting for the Archbishop?  A: Yes.

Q: They say their goodbyes? A: Yes.

Q: Everyone unvests? A: Yes. [cited Weinberg, par 732]

Read on…

Milligan incites the ABC lynch mob against Andrew Bolt

Malicious delusional Louise Milligan is at it again in her usual one-sided, question-begging, distorting way, inflating a case again Catholic St Kevin’s College to make it appear such things only happen in the Catholic Church and Catholic schools – all run through the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), Australia’s Anti-Catholic Central. How wonderful it is to have a billion-dollar state enterprise at one’s disposal. Nobody and no institution does bigotry as well as Milligan and the ABC.

Andrew Bolt dared to make a mitigating comment about the St Kevin’s case. That was enough for Milligan to rise in fury and set the lynch mob on him. Bolt can handle himself, but he should know that he has risen high in list of those Milligan and her class are out to destroy. He should remember the mob outside St Patrick’s Cathedral shouting, ‘We’ll get you in the end, Pell.’ They got him.

Here’s Bolt’s answer to Milligan and her lynch mob:

ABC’S LOUISE MILLIGAN PICKS ANOTHER CHERRY IN HER CRUSADE

I don’t trust anything that the ABC’s Louise Milligan says in her reports on the Catholic Church or George Pell. Nor should anyone trust her tweets, like this appeal to my boss at Sky to, what, sack me?:

Read on…

Review of Milligan’s Cardinal

Gerard Henderson reviews Louise Milligan’s CARDINAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF GEORGE PELL.

According to Melbourne University Press, Cardinal uncovers “uncomfortable truths about a culture of sexual entitlement, abuse of trust and how ambition can silence evil” in the Catholic Church.  In an email forwarded to me on 30 May 2017, MUP chief executive Louise Adler wrote that Cardinal is an “important contribution to the community’s understanding of the Catholic Church’s response to child abuse”.  Ms Adler was defending Louise Milligan’s refusal to answer questions about Cardinal – despite the fact that her journalistic career has been built on asking questions of others.

In fact, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell is neither of the above.  Cardinal  does not uncover “uncomfortable truths” about the Catholic Church.  The scandal of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been known for decades.  Nor is the book a contribution to “the community’s understanding of the Catholic Church’s response to child sexual abuse”. As the author acknowledged when interviewed on the ABC TV News Breakfast program on 17 May 2017, Cardinal was written “from the complainants’ point of view”.

So Cardinal is not an objective analysis of either the Catholic Church or Cardinal George Pell.  Rather, it is the case for the prosecution – primarily researched by ABC journalist Louise Milligan while working for the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

Read on…

Cardinal Pell, Australia’s Alfred Dreyfus

Christopher Akehurst, Quadrant, 11 February 2020

The new legal year began this month with various ceremonies, among them the traditional celebration of a “Red Mass” in the Roman Catholic cathedrals of the state capitals. In Melbourne, the judges and lawyers who attended St Patrick’s must have pondered the strange combination of circumstances that have made that imposing Gothic building the alleged locus delicti of Australia’s most publicised and divisive legal case in living memory; and have seen Cardinal George Pell, the prelate whose archiepiscopal seat the cathedral once was, convicted for child sexual abuse – offences committed, it is said, in a sacristy just across the transept from the assembled jurists participating in the Mass.

The Pell case is one of those indicators, like climate change, of where one stands politically. The Left is pretty much anti-Pell en bloc, not so much for any privileged access to evidence, but because he is a conservative, someone who can therefore do no good – just like President Trump, who even if he could somehow fulfil the leftist dream and abolish “global warming” overnight would get no thanks for it. Those who have publicly stated their belief in Pell’s innocence tend to be conservative (Pell’s two most eloquent champions have been Keith Windschuttle, Editor-in-Chief of Quadrant, who has dissected the evidence with a forensic skill unusual even in the highest levels of the legal profession, and columnist Andrew Bolt) but they believe him not because of shared political or other views but because conservative thinking requires good reasons for its conclusions and is not swayed by shallow emotionalism and the shouts of the mob, and the evidence adduced against Pell is about as far from conclusive as any evidence accepted by an Australian court could ever have been.

On March 11, the full bench of the High Court will come together to hear the long awaited appeal by Pell, former Archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, then cardinal in charge of reforming (i.e. cleaning up) the finances of the Vatican, now prisoner no. CRN 218978 at Barwon, Victoria. When it does, the hearing will push whatever is obsessing the media at the time – coronavirus, the horrors of a Trump re-election, the collapse of the British economy after Brexit (that’ll be the wishfully thought-up fake news from the Nine media and the Guardian) off front pages round the world.

Read on…

The Crown prosecutor’s bent trump card

Keith Windschuttle, Quadrant

The first of the two incidents that convicted Cardinal George Pell of sexual abuse of two choirboys supposedly took place after a Solemn Sunday Mass in St Patricks Cathedral, Melbourne, in December 1996. The choirboy who complained about Pell said he and a friend were abused in the priests’ sacristy of the cathedral shortly after they left the exit procession at the end of the Mass. The priests’ sacristy was the room in which then Archbishop Pell was assisted to robe before the Mass, and to disrobe afterwards. Concelebrating priests who took part in the Mass also robed and disrobed there. It was the room to which altar servers returned sacred objects used in the Mass. What remained of the sacramental wine was returned there, and the cash from the worshippers’ collection was deposited in its vault. It was out of bounds for choirboys. However, shortly after the procession, the choirboy and his friend allegedly found the sacristy unlocked and empty and went inside to swig the sacramental wine, when Pell suddenly appeared and assaulted them.

In my most recent piece for Quadrant Online, I showed that the submission by the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions in answer to Pell’s pending appeal to the High Court contains an argument originally put to the jury by Crown prosecutor Mark Gibson at Pell’s trial, but which the trial judge ordered him to retract. The offending argument was that the priests’ sacristy was empty at the time the choirboys found it because altar servers from the exit procession, who had arrived at the sacristy a little earlier than the boys, had quickly left it and gone to the nearby utility room in order to provide a five-or-six-minute ‘interval of decorum’ or ‘private prayer time’ for worshippers still in the cathedral after the Mass.

Read on…

In praise of Cardinal Pell

JOHN CLIFTON RECALLS FATHER GEORGE PELL AT HIS SCHOOL IN BALLARAT IN THE 1970S.

This testimony is drawn from Gerard Henderson’s review of Louise Milligan’s work of prejudice and delusion – CARDINAL

The earliest memories of my nearly 45 year friendship with the now Cardinal Pell were the childhood ones at St. Francis Xavier College Primary School. There were a handful boarders and the rest were us day kids. The school known locally as Villa Maria is tucked away in the hills as you enter Ballarat from the east. It was a private school run by the nuns of the Sisters of Mercy order, with Fr. George Pell guiding its direction. Luckily now for us kids, it was not connected to the parish school network under Bishop Mulkearns’ authority.

Louise Milligan tries hard to link Fr. Pell to the parish school of St. Allipius. He had no roles at all. Gerard Ridsdale was the parish priest next door at St Allipus and also chaplain to their school. Fr. Pell had many roles at our school Villa Maria. He was our chaplain, football coach, swimming supervisor, and in charge of taking the few boarders and day kids on outings. These outings could be the pool, beach or even the footy in Melbourne, Richmond games only, of course. We all learnt to swim at the Eureka Pool because it was so close to the school. l remember also the heated YMCA pool as well on occasions – no doubt the winter months. Fr. Pell would always be doing his laps as we mucked about.

l loved footy. So being in Fr. Pell’s team was great because the games were played in school time. At training doing circle-work, l can still see the big man in his daggy looking trackies and high over-the-ankle boots. All of us would be madly trying to get a hand pass from him. After footy training one afternoon when the day kids were getting picked up – my mother tells me how Fr.Pell would take the boarders back in and catch up with the nuns. She found him with boots off and feet in front of the stove in the kitchen. The nuns liked to spoil him – she would say. When speaking to past students we all have our own special memories of Villa. l even spoke to a boarder recently and he said they were a tight little group with only good memories.

During these years my parents – but mainly my mother had good contact with Fr. Pell. His parents had the pub on our street so he often walked past and dropped in on her. l had a brother two grades above me and a sister two grades below. Those two went through teachers college in Ballarat (Aquinas) – with Fr. Pell in charge there as well. Around that time, he celebrated another sister’s wedding so he continued being in our lives until he moved to Melbourne.

My brother tells the story of the Aquinas College “20 year Reunion” party being crashed by the Archbishop of Sydney. Everyone was happily surprised and someone asked what they should now call him, “Your Eminence” or “Father” or just “George” like they used to. His reply was you “call me whatever is comfortable for you.” That is how it was with us as kids or later as adults. He just wanted you to be comfortable around him. For me he will always be Father and that’s how he signs his letters still today. l am the contact now for mum as she cannot write anymore.

The description of George Pell in Louise Milligan’s book certainly doesn’t fit the George Pell the people from St. Francis Xavier College and Aquinas College knew then and still know today.

The only thing l like from this book is the front cover. As a kid, if that was Fr. Pell standing there in front of you – you were safe and protected.

****

Keystone cops and clownish courts

Deadwood Justice

Paul Collits

Paul Collits has worked in regional economic development analysis, policy and practice for over 20 years, in universities, State parliament, local and State government and in consulting. His longer career of 30 years has also included working in research and analysis in government at national level, industry and politics. This article, considered too hot for publication by some, is explosive. It gives the background to the most shocking episode in Australia in my lifetime – to Australia’s greatest case of justice miscarried.

The promos for Victorian Tourism and Destination Melbourne told us with considerable joy and pride that Roger Federer and Tiger Woods were visiting the southernmost mainland capital this summer. 

So was one Ken Jones, who was visiting Victoria from the United Kingdom and not likely to be sighted anywhere near a tennis court or golf course.  Jones’ visit is likely to have caused much more of a stir than that of the other two.

Continue reading Keystone cops and clownish courts

Continuing to destroy the prosecution case

With his forensic probing, Chris S Friel continues to take apart the Crown’s case against Cardinal Pell. What sort of juveniles sit on the state’s benches in Victoria?

The Two Wings of the Pell Case

Chris S Friel

Pell’s case has two wings. In truth, there are many pointers to Pell’s innocence but it is helpful to simplify and think in terms of the grounds argued by Bret Walker for the defence. Ground 1, roughly, implies that in effect the burden of proof was reversed. Ground 2 argues, in effect, that nevertheless, even if it was up to Pell to prove his innocence this could be demonstrated by showing that there was no opportunity for the offence to have occurred. These arguments are crystallised in the “steps alibi” and the “hiatus theory” respectively.

Portelli’s evidence that he was always – or virtually always – on the steps with the Archbishop after Mass to meet and greet parishioners is as good as an alibi.i Because an alibi completely negates the opportunity for a crime it demands refutation once it has been raised since it provides a good reason to doubt the charges. Portelli gave evidence of a practice, better, he could recall actually being with Pell on those special early days when (a) Pell was new, (b) the Cathedral was now being used again after repair, and (c) parishioners would have been eager to meet and greet the colourful Archbishop. Given that evidence was heard from the choir marshal who retired that Christmas that the meet and greet custom was already established (and Pell only celebrated two Sunday Masses that Advent), and also from Daniel McGlone, who recalls introducing his mother to Pell on one of those occasions, it is obvious that the “steps alibi,” even if it has been questioned, has not been negated. As such, the prosecution have clearly not taken up the burden of proving their case beyond reasonable doubt.

Continue reading Continuing to destroy the prosecution case