Tag Archives: Keith Winschuttle

The two judges

Two Judges and the Baying Mob

Keith Windschuttle, QUADRANT, 12th April 2020

Victoria should join New South Wales in allowing high-profile criminal matters to be heard by a judge alone. Judges, at least, should be above the baying mob.
                                               — The Australian, 8 April 2020

This recommendation from an editorial in The Australian reflected many commentaries on the High Court verdict that freed Cardinal George Pell from prison and overturned his infamous conviction for alleged child sexual abuse. It recognised, rightly, that in high profile cases like this, juries can be swayed by thoughts that are both unreasonable and unjust.

In this case, the editorial reported that a common sentiment heard inside the trial court’s public gallery was: “Even if he didn’t do this he deserves to be punished,” a referral to practices in the Catholic Church to cover up allegations of this kind from the 1950s to the 1980s, long before Pell was in any position in the church to do something about it. In short, some members of the public, that is, potential jurors, think it is OK to make a man a scapegoat for something he didn’t do.

And, as I noted in earlier coverage of this issue in Quadrant, June 2019 (“Why the Second Jury Found George Pell Guilty“), the highly publicised public apology given to victims of child sexual abuse by Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten, recommended to them by the Royal Commission into the subject, was made just sixteen days before the start of Pell’s second trial in Melbourne’s County Court. So the jurors who convicted Pell began their task with the slogan of the apology, ‘I believe you, we believe you, your country believes you’, ringing in their ears. Little wonder they succumbed to this appeal.

Read the rest here

The Borrowed Testimony that Convicted George Pell

Keith Windschuttle, Quadrant, 8 April 2019

“Billy” was a 10-year-old student at St. Jerome School in 1998, and an altar boy just like his older brother before him. A sweet, gentle kid with boyish good looks, Billy was outgoing and well-liked. One morning, after serving Mass, Rev. Charles Engelhardt caught Billy in the church sacristy sipping leftover wine. Rather than get mad, however, the priest poured Billy more wine. According to the grand jury, he also showed him some pornographic magazines, asking the boy how the pictures made him feel and whether he preferred the images of naked men or women. He told Billy it was time to become a man and that they would soon begin their “sessions.” A week later, Billy learned what Engelhardt meant. After Mass, the priest allegedly fondled the boy, sucked his penis and ordered Billy to kneel and fellate him – calling him “son” while instructing him to move his head faster or slower – until Engelhardt ejaculated. The priest later suggested another “session,” but Billy refused and Engelhardt let him be.
                              
— Sabrina Rubin Erdely, “The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex-Crime Files”,
                                                                                   Rolling Stone, 15 September 2011

What is the difference between this account of child sex abuse in a Catholic church in Philadelphia and the evidence given by the sole accuser in the Victorian court case that convicted Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing a thirteen-year-old choir boy at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, in 1996? Not much…

Read on…