Tag Archives: Fr Frank Brennan

Anatomy of culpable police and legal incompetence

In the 3 September edition of the Catholic Weekly, Fr Frank Brennan provides a lucid summary of his book Observations of the Pell Proceedings. One should read this book and Keith Windschuttle’s even more penetrating The Persecution of George Pell, but this article is enough to demonstrate convincingly the abject police and legal failure that locked up an innocent man for 404 days.

One wonders how deep Marxist Daniel Andrews had his fingers in this legal abomination. Evidence is his fury at the news Tony Abbott visited an innocent man in prison and his angry public declaration after the High Court 7-nil decision that WE SEE YOU, WE HEAR YOU, WE BELIEVE YOU. With this, the premier of Victoria gave his finger to the centuries-old foundational legal principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. Daniel Andrews is totally unfit for any executive government office, let alone that of heading a state.

As for the claim, uttered by ABC giants such as Barrie Cassidy, that Cardinal Pell was freed on a legal technicality, that is absolute rubbish, grasped at by the bigoted who would say anything rather than face the truth. Fr Brennan’s article shows the High Court quashed the verdict on the blaring evidence that the absurd case against the cardinal could not be sustained.

The Catholic Weekly deserves praise and credit for publishing two articles about the Pell injustice.

*****

Fr Frank Brennan: Anatomy of a travesty

A case that should never have happened

It’s time to declare that George Pell is innocent of the preposterous charges he faced in the County Court of Victoria and to move on for the good of everyone, including bona fide complainants and victims of child sexual abuse in institutions.

Because of the suppression orders put in place by the County Court, you were unable to follow the trials of Cardinal George Pell day by day. That’s why I was asked to attend the proceedings. That’s why I have published a book, Observations on the Pell Proceedings – so you can make your own assessment of the evidence.

My book is dedicated ‘to those who seek truth, justice and healing and to those who have been denied them’. Having followed the Pell proceedings closely, I am convinced that the case did nothing to help bona fide complainants, victims, and their supporters.

I write in the introduction: “The failures of the Victoria police, prosecution authorities, and the two most senior Victorian judges in these proceedings did nothing to help the efforts being made to address the trauma of institutional child sexual abuse. As a society we need to do better, and the legal system needs to play its part.”

I am convinced that light and healing can be more readily sought and hoped for if appropriate steps are taken to correct the errors made in the Pell proceedings. The compounding errors resulted in the unanimous judgment of the High Court of Australia which placed the Victorian criminal justice system in a very poor light.

I was left in no doubt. Cardinal Pell was innocent of these charges. He should never have even been charged.

Read the rest here…

Fr Brennan comments on the Pell Affair

Lessons Learned from Pell’s Sad Saga of Suffering.

Father Frank Brennan SJ

The Australian, April 11, 2020


Two weeks before Cardinal ­George Pell faced the jury of 12 fellow citizens who convicted him of vile sexual assaults on two choirboys, Scott Morrison delivered the national apology to victims of child sexual assault. Morrison told parliament: “Not just as a father, but as a Prime Minister, I am angry too at the calculating destruction of lives and the abuse of trust, including those who have abused the shield of faith and religion to hide their crimes, a shield that is supposed to protect the innocent, not the guilty. They stand condemned … On behalf of the Australian people, this parliament and our government … I simply say I believe you, we believe you, your country believes you.”

In Pell’s case, the jury believed the complainant, Mr J, who said he recalled events from 22 years previously when he was a 13-year-old member of the St Patrick’s Cathedral choir. They were convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Pell committed these crimes in the priests’ sacristy after a Sunday 11am solemn mass. Now the High Court has unanimously decided that the jury got it wrong. The court has ruled that on the evidence presented at trial, no jury could properly be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that these assaults occurred. The highest court in the land has determined that Pell is not guilty of these charges. How can this be? What lessons are to be learnt for the wellbeing of victims and complainants? How can the Victorian criminal justice system be improved to ­assist complainants who come forward many years after experiencing dreadful trauma, while at the same time protecting those who are wrongly accused?

Continue reading Fr Brennan comments on the Pell Affair

Archbishop Peter Wilson and the (mis)use of faulty law

Philip Wilson’s dead letter day

Fr Frank Brennan in Eureka Street

The show trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson has backfired badly causing hurt to many people, most especially victims of child sexual abuse who thought the law was being rightly applied to put an errant Catholic bishop in the frame.

Wilson was charged under a provision of the New South Wales Crimes Act, section 316, which has hardly ever been used. It’s a provision which was introduced in 1990. It was reviewed by the New South Wales Law Reform Commission in 1999 and comprehensively trashed. Some commissioners thought the provision should be abolished. Others thought it should be retained.  Read on…