Category Archives: Australia

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…

Cdl Pell and the appalling failure of Victoria Police

Marilyn Rodrigues of the Catholic Weekly recently reviewed Fr Brennan’s book on the Pell Affair, Observations on the Pell Proceedings, and commented on a 40 minute interview with him. Ms Rodrigues focuses on the staggering failure of Victoria Police to do their job without fear or favour. Indeed, it is clear, as it is in other examinations of VICPOL’s prosecution of Cardinal Pell, that they were out to get him. Either that or they were guilty of an ineptitude worthy of the most primitive tinpot dictatorship. I go for the former. One wonders how those senior VICPOL officer are not too ashamed to hide their faces. The 40-minute interview with Fr Brennan comes at the end of the review.

*****

The sting operation that came apart

By Marilyn Rodrigues -August 27, 2021

Victoria’s policing and criminal justice systems erred so seriously in relation to Cardinal George Pell that it shows that not even victims of abuse or bona fide complainants, let alone an accused person like the cardinal, could rely on them, says Australian legal expert Fr Frank Brennan SJ.

The law professor and rector of Newman College at the University of Melbourne attended key parts of Cardinal Pell’s trials and appeals and had access to court transcripts.

He became convinced that the cardinal was innocent of the historical sexual abuse charges brought against him, and that he should never have had to face them.

Read the rest here…

Australia Day and the rest

On my Edmund Burke website, I have been making a series of comments on the radical left’s campaign to create a double Australia, an apartheid Australia, in which the ordinary Australian supports a superior caste of people based on race.

‘Indigenous historian’, Bruce Pascoe, wrote the following in his ABC-supported bestseller, DARK EMU.

Not only did Aborigines invent democracy, pioneer humankind’s first complex fishing systems and bake the first loaf of bread, they were agriculturalists with skills superior to those of the white colonisers who took their land and despoiled it. (p.1)

Preposterous claims, of course, that cannot be verified on the evidence. Peter O’Brien refutes Pascoe’s attempt to reinvent and fabricate Aboriginal history and culture in his Bitter Harvest: The illusion of Aboriginal agriculture in Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu.

It is fine to point out the superiority of Aboriginal culture, but a dastardly racist act to assert Aboriginal culture, pre-settlement, was a primitive stationary culture in which its members, by virtue of that culture, lived a life that was ‘nasty brutish and short.’

Aboriginals and Australians of Aboriginal ancestry have an infinitely greater of chance of thriving in our present European Society. Indeed, there are examples of ‘indigenous’ fat cats all through the public service and government-funded enterprises.

The Cardinal Pell affair has SHIFTED to Edmund Burke Society site

NOTICE

The pages about the Cardinal Pell Affair have been transferred to my Edmund Burke Society (Aust) website.

As a preeminent political and social issue, it belongs on the Burke website

All comments and records about this most shocking episode in Australian history will from now be on the Burke website. Indeed, the Pell Affair is of Burkean proportions. This screaming miscarriage of justice is an accurate measure of how corrupted Australia has become from its foundations.

A powerful response to Milligan and the mob

Keith Windschuttle, editor of Quadrant Magazine, has written a book that is a must-read for those Australians who fondly think we live in a society unassailably based on the rule of law. Here he gives an account of the focus of his book.

*****

A Kafkaesque Scenario

Keith Windschuttle, Editor, Quadrant Magazine

The case of Cardinal George Pell and child sexual abuse is still not finished. There is the matter now being investigated by the Australian Federal Police about whether Pell’s opponents within the Vatican sent money to Australia to try to influence public opinion and legal proceedings. However, given the enthusiasm to persecute Pell displayed by those arrayed against him in Australian legal and media circles, if such bribery did exist it was probably wasted. As Humbert Wolfe observed long ago, when you see what they will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

Moreover, with today’s benefit of hindsight over the competing perspectives that now come into view, the Pell case seems even more important on levels other than the multi-pronged witch hunt by the desperate characters who brought him down. Above all, the case is a demonstration of the fragility of the rule of law and of civilised social and professional relationships. Within the ideological imperatives that prevail today, any one of us could become George Pell. We could be accused by strangers of reprehensible behaviour, and then find the weight of the nation’s structures of law, government and public opinion piled on top of us—a Kafkaesque scenario.

Pell was lucky to be saved at the last minute by his only remaining hope, the judges of the Australian High Court. They retained enough independence and integrity to see the truth of his case as it was. However, these qualities had been beyond the ability of the majority of judges in the Victorian Court of Appeal and beyond the comprehension of the six former judges and legal officials who sat on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, all of whom displayed embarrassing failings in the logic of their findings. There are no guarantees that future members of the High Court will act as creditably as those who acquitted Pell.

In my book published last month, The Persecution of George Pell (Quadrant Books, 408 pages, $39.95), I not only cover the minutiae of police, court and Royal Commission proceedings in what defence counsel Robert Richter accurately described as “Operation Get Pell” from 2013 to 2020, but also place it within the history of the culture wars, political ideology and consequent changes to legal procedures related to sexuality that have accumulated since the 1960s.

Read the rest here…

The Catholic Imagination of Christopher Koch

I was looking for a cover of a novel by an Australian Catholic for the banner of a new FB group page THE AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC WRITERS’ FORUM (to be developed). I had a few of Christopher Koch’s novels on hand and chose Highways to a War, the 1996 Miles Franklin Award winner. I then looked around for some information about the now (almost) forgotten Christopher Koch and found this inspiring article by Karl Schmude.

Christopher Koch: A novelist for an age with no answers

Karl Schmude

The Catholic imagination of Christopher Koch, the Australian novelist most remembered for The Year of Living Dangerously (1978), was shaped by two intense experiences.

Continue reading The Catholic Imagination of Christopher Koch

Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution

I recently completed an update of TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION. I did a bit of polishing and added an index of names. An index of names was an important upgrade. I should perhaps have done that in the beginning. The book also has a new and more attractive cover. The photo is of the entrance to Sydney University where all the action took place.

The failure of Victoria’s Court of Appeal – Cardinal Pell

In a previous comment, I wondered what motivated Victoria’s Court of Appeal judges, Anne Ferguson and Chris Maxwell, to reject Cardinal Pell’s appeal. I watched the delivery of the verdict. I was stunned to the point of feeling faint. I could not believe what I was hearing from the smug mouth of Ferguson with her superior ‘Karen’ airs. I asked whether it was incompetence, ideology or spinelessness that was the motivation. Damon Johnston’s article below on the appalling record of the Appeal Court under Maxwell suggests incompetence was the problem.

*****

Victoria’s Court of Appeal savaged in landmark legal study

JULY 23, 2020 The Australian

DAMON JOHNSTON VICTORIAN EDITOR

Victoria’s Court of Appeal has been rocked by a landmark legal study finding that 18 criminal judgments under its president, judge Chris Maxwell, have been overturned by the High Court.

The report, by Victoria’s former chief crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert QC, concluded that during Justice Maxwell’s reign the court had “cast off its near-perfect record”.

“The first 10 years of the Court of Appeal in its criminal jurisdiction saw its judgments affirmed on 10 occasions and reversed twice by the High Court,” Mr Silbert writes in his report, published in the Australian Law Journal.

“The next 14 years (under Justice Maxwell) have seen the Court of Appeal’s judgments reversed 16 times and affirmed on six occasions, with a large number of its decisions criticised, particularly in … sentencing.”

Continue reading The failure of Victoria’s Court of Appeal – Cardinal Pell

An afternoon with Cardinal Pell

Wanda Skowronska, Quadrant, 14 August

It has been four months since Cardinal George Pell was freed from Victoria’s Barwon Prison on April 7, after the High Court unanimously overturned his convictions. During his 400 days in jail many people, myself among them, sent the Cardinal letters and cards of support, hoping and praying he would be soon released. Now, a few months later, I have had the privilege of sitting for over an hour with the Cardinal who had graciously agreed to a meeting.

Before me was someone who had suffered greatly, yet was relaxed, serene, courteous and witty. While we were conversing, I could not help sensing his inner peace, from deep wells of the soul. He clearly has an ongoing lively interest in books which prison did nothing to abate.  Our discussion was mainly about his dear friend Father Paul Stenhouse (right), who died on November 19, 2019, and of whom many tributes have been written.

Cardinal Pell noted the “intellectual qualities” and “very fine Catholic writing” of Fr Stenhouse, saying he was “a deeply faithful priest.” He had heard of the priest-scholar before he met him in the 1990s in Melbourne and from there came a meeting of minds in which many situations in the church and the world were discussed. Fr Stenhouse, being the editor of Annals, the longest-running journal in Australian history, put his knowledge of history and language into this doughty publication from the 1960s. There was much to discuss, the Cardinal chuckling at how his older friend insisted on driving him around Sydney, “even when he was in his 80s!”  Asked his opinion of Fr Stenhouse’s driving, the Cardinal replied calmly that “he did not terrify me.”  He recalled how they would visit friends, go to restaurants and visited Camden, where Fr Stenhouse grew up. Among other subjects, they discussed the situation in the church, how to help those suffering from religious persecution,  and their high regard for Saint John Paul II.

Read the rest here…