Gerard Henderson of the Sydney Institute has been at the forefront of the sustained criticism of the royal commission into clerical child sexual abuse and the legal fiasco of Cardinal Pell’s trials. He has taken apart the arguments condemning the cardinal. In particular, he destroyed the case run by Louise Milligan, leaving that deluded ABC flunkey nothing to say other than that Henderson defends paedophiles. That’s her stock reply to criticisms she cannot answer.
In his latest article about Cardinal Pell and the royal commission, Henderson is no less compelling in his criticism after the release of the redacted pages, the last great hope of the Pell-haters. His irresistible conclusion is that the Cardinal was denied justice.
Royal commission denies George Pell legal justice
The Sydney Institute, MAY 17, 2020
The ignorance of some journalists never seems to surprise. Take, for example, the release last week of the non-redacted report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse covering its case studies in the Catholic diocese of Ballarat and archdiocese of Melbourne.
Sections of both reports had been delayed pending the result of the outcome of the charges laid against Cardinal George Pell for historical child sexual abuse when he was archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997. On April 7, in a unanimous decision, the High Court quashed Pell’s conviction.
Many of Pell’s media critics, who were disappointed with his acquittal, looked forward to the release of the royal commission’s findings, which they expected to be hostile to Pell. They were not disappointed. Nor should they have expected to be, in view of the hostile reception Pell faced during his appearances before the royal commission comprising close to 20 hours — especially from counsel assisting Gail Furness SC.
Immediately after its release, Nine Entertainment’s Peter FitzSimons, a leading Pell antagonist, referred to the report as “a judgment”. No, it wasn’t. A royal commission is not a court of law. Moreover, in this instance, half of its members did not have legal qualifications.
Royal commissions make findings, not judgments. And their burden of proof is far lower than guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It’s closer to the balance of probabilities that prevails in civil cases.