CNA Staff, Jun 27, 2020 / 02:02 pm MT (CNA).- A member of the Parliament of Victoria has urged that there be an inquiry into the treatment of Cardinal George Pell by the state’s police and judiciary, months after Australia’s High Court unanimously overturned his conviction for five alleged counts of sexual abuse.
Victorian politician calls for inquiry into investigation of Cardinal Pell
Bernie Finn, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council from the Liberal Party, said June 18 that “the integrity of the justice system in this state is very much on trial.”
“There are major questions that are desperately in need of answers. I would like to see an inquiry that is at arm’s length from Victoria Police, arm’s length from the judiciary and arm’s length from the government.”
Finn asked that Jill Hennessey, Attorney-General of Victoria, launch an investigation into former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Graham Ashton and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to discover “how we can avoid trial by media in future, how did the Court of Appeal get it so very wrong and how could an innocent man in this day and age in Victoria be jailed in the way that Cardinal Pell was”.
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.
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/