Tag Archives: Royal commission

Need for one more royal commission

On previous standards – standards for calling a royal commission – there would be a royal commission into Victoria’s Police. The Andrews government is negligent of the demands of justice in refusing an official investigation into VicPol. Does Andrews have something to fear?


George Pell saga makes case for one more royal commission in Victoria

Chris Mitchell, The Australian, 20 Decemb er 2020

In the wake of Vicpol’s pursuit of Cardinal George Pell and the failings of the two court cases and a Court of Appeal hearing to withstand a unanimous 7-0 verdict in favour of Pell in the High Court, a broadbased inquiry could also examine changes to the state’s sexual offences laws. When Mr Andrews tweeted after that High Court decision to alleged victims of sexual assault — “I see you, I hear you, I believe you” — what was he really saying? This ­newspaper’s former legal affairs editor Chris Merritt argued on April 7 that changes to the state’s laws effectively reversed the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

“Victorian legislation meant the Pell jury was denied the full story about the man who claimed to have been assaulted by the cardinal. Relevant evidence about the complainant was kept from the jury by virtue of legislation that was put in place with the clear intention of protecting those who claim to be victims of sexual assault,” Merritt wrote.

Victims’ stories are to be believed by police, and defendants’ ability to challenge those stories in court has been curtailed. The High Court found this was at the heart of the Pell matter. Experienced journalists already knew this.

The Age’s John Silvester wrote on February 27 that Vicpol must have relished the opportunity to reverse years of mishandling of clergy abuse cases: “Now police are told to come from a mindset of believing a person who says they have been sexually assaulted.”

In the case of Pell’s alleged assault of two choristers (one of whom had died but had denied ever being molested) at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996, Silvester wrote: “Pell was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt on the uncorroborated evidence of one witness, without forensic evidence, a pattern of behaviour or a confession … it is rare to run a case on the word of one witness, let alone gain a conviction.”

Read the rest here …

Probing Victoria Police and the Royal Commission

Douglas Drummond, former Queensland Special Prosecutor and a judge on the Federal Court of Australia, has written a powerful piece, fearlessly probing the record of Victoria Police (in particular about the Pell jailing) and the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse. He is to be commended.

The frightening bias of VicPol and the commission continues to unfold. Australia needs a thorough investigation into the background of the country’s worst ever miscarriage of justice. What happened to Cardinal Pell could happen to anyone.

I have added a tab on Victoria Police to the Cardinal Pell section of my website.


The Unexplored Shame of Victoria Police

by Douglas Drummond, Quadrant, 3 July 2020

The Catholic Church and its bishops have been subjected to a lot of deserved criticism by the Royal Commission, the media, survivors and others for their failures to deal with the sexual abuse of children by priests, particularly over the decades from the 1960s to the 1990s. Victoria Police has largely escaped criticism, though it made similar failures during this same period.

At the first public session of the Commission in August 2015, it said that, as well as religious institutions, were police force were one of the types of institutions it would be investigating.

Catholic Diocese of Ballarat

In its Final Report in Case Study 28, the Royal Commission said: “The scope and purpose of Part Two of that case study involving the Ballarat Diocese was to inquire into:

1. the response of the Diocese and of other Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat to allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy or religious

2. the response of Victoria Police to allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy or religious which took place within the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat”.

The Commission made a full inquiry into the first item. But its inquiry into the second item was in a number of respects surprisingly deficient.

Gerald Ridsdale

Ridsdale (right) was probably the worst of the many paedophile priests in Victoria, if not Australia. Much of his offending took place in parishes in the Ballarat Diocese. The Commission noted Ridsdale was convicted in 1993, and later, of sexual offences against a total of 65 children as young as four which occurred from the 1960s until the 1980s. This was only part of his criminal activities: according to The Age report of June 14, 2002, [“Ballarat’s good men of the cloth”] just before his first trial in 1993, Ridsdale told his family of his crimes. One family member asked: “How many, Gerald. Four, or five?” “Hundreds,” was his reply.

Read the rest here…