Chris S Friel working from the other side of the world has done outstanding work on the Cardinal Pell Affair. He has produced a series of sharp compelling analyses of all the important features of Cardinal’s conviction for sexual abuse of a minor. Friel’s work will be in the frontline of any research serious investigators undertake in scrutinising of one of the most shocking sets of circumstances in Australia’s history.
On the eve of The High Court of Australia’s decision about allowing an appeal, Friel has posted an extremely useful summary of the work he has done. One can access it on the Academia website. I have produced it below.
SUMMARY OF THE PELL PAPERS
by Chris S Friel
This is a brief summary of the work I have done on the Pell case followed by a bibliographical note also on my Academia page, “The Pell Papers.” I shall refer to the number of each paper (in text) where the article for each number is identified in the list immediately following.
I began writing with (1, 2) which drew attention to what I thought two key issues, namely, the way that the story of the complainant had shifted, and of the difficulties I saw in Milligan’s Cardinal. Much of the subsequent work involved trying to clear up the ambiguities, and an overview can be found in a long review of Milligan’s book (22). This was written in July, between the appeal hearing and the ruling. I look at:
- The Get Pell Network
- The significance of the Southwell Inquiry
- The various coincidences in timing that indicate how, around the time when the complainant went to the police, various “memories” were suspiciously reconstructed in order to implicate Pell.
After August I devoted much attention to Mark Weinberg’s ruling, providing summaries and explanations of an approach that I argued took responsibility for the act of judgement rather than “deferring” to the jury who had evidently based their decision on the credibility of the complainant (23-30). The rulings provided access to the transcripts and so I was able to focus on some issues that in general were carefully treated by Weinberg. My work was very much auxiliary to his. I did, however, attempt to tease out some issues, in particular:
- The credibility of the complainant (35, 40, 42)
- The shifts in the story (38)
- Portelli’s evidence (32)
- The timing of the first incident (37, 39, 48)
- The “indicia” of the Archbishop’s Sacristy (21, 36)
- The opportunity for the offence and the so-called hiatus (31, 43, 49, 51, 54, 55)
- What happened immediately before and after (52, 34)
- The second incident (53)
- Lucie Morris-Marr (46, 47)
- The significance of Carl Beech (44, 45)
- The appeal to the High Court (41)
- The Rome interview (33, 56)
- The methodological approach taken in this research (50).
To take just one of these, I support the argument that there was no opportunity for Pell to offend without being detected and I draw attention to the problems with the “hiatus theory.” I reject the idea that because the sacristan left 5 or 6 minutes of quiet on the sanctuary there would be an opportunity in the sacristy. Such reasoning is unsound as the altar servers in the procession would have interrupted any alleged crime. Nor could it have happened before they returned as immediately after Mass the victims would have also been processing. Nor could it have happened after the return as there were many others busy in the sacristy even if, arbitrarily, the altar servers are discounted.
That is, I support the argument to be tested in tomorrow’s request to the High Court.
The Pell Papers
- https://www.academia.edu/38515327/A_Methodological_Suggestion_regarding_th e_Pell_Case
- https://www.academia.edu/38822346/Murmur_in_the_Cathedral_What_did_Millig an_Know
- https://www.academia.edu/38915020/On_the_Influence_of_Waller_and_Barrett_o n_the_Pell_Case
- https://www.academia.edu/38938931/What_was_Wallers_Role_in_Operation_Teth ering
- https://www.academia.edu/39115056/The_Kid_The_Choirboy_and_The_Conjunctio n
- https://www.academia.edu/39655329/To_Define_True_Conspiracy_Milligan_on_Br een
- https://www.academia.edu/40166326/Pell_v_The_Queen_Abbreviation_of_Mark_ Weinberg
- https://www.academia.edu/40180289/A_Very_Short_Summary_of_Weinbergs_Diss ent
- https://www.academia.edu/40196053/Weinberg_Ferguson_Maxwell_and_Walker_i n_Conversation
- https://www.academia.edu/40197542/Weinberg_Ferguson_Maxwell_and_Walker_i n_Conversation_2
- https://www.academia.edu/40208083/Ferguson_Maxwell_Weinberg_on_the_Const itutional_Role_of_the_Jury
- https://www.academia.edu/40215377/A_Very_Short_Critique_of_Ferguson_and_M axwell 31. https://www.academia.edu/40224435/The_Hiatus_Theory
- https://www.academia.edu/40280022/The_Contrivance_of_Cardinal_Pell 3
- https://www.academia.edu/40331041/The_Surprise_of_the_Sacristy_or_The_Parab le_of_the_Rectangle
- https://www.academia.edu/40366566/From_Committal_to_Trial_in_the_Rulings_T he_Robes_and_the_Wine
- https://www.academia.edu/40421980/The_Moment_I_knew_He_would_be_Found _Guilty
- https://www.academia.edu/40569461/Believing_Victims_and_Institutional_Stupidit y
- https://www.academia.edu/40887246/The_Background_Thinking_to_the_Rome_Int erview
Shortly after Cardinal Pell’s conviction was announced I began investigating the case, posting 17 articles on this Academia site, and publishing another in Quadrant. Two postscripts are now added post-appeal, and three further papers have been written. The initial papers were written quickly over roughly 12 weeks with the earliest, A Methodological Suggestion, written on 8 March 2019.
At first, I had not followed the case closely at all, but found myself drawn in by Frank Brennan’s article published in Eureka Street. I then began my research by reading through around 200-300 articles in the Guardian, many by Melissa Davey. In the previous year I had found myself drawn into what was in effect investigative journalism on the matter of the antisemitism crisis in the UK Labour Party which I argued was carefully coordinated by pro-Israel groups and timed to coincide with the killings in Gaza. Despite the obvious dissimilarity between the political left winger Jeremy Corbyn, and the theological conservative George Pell, I was struck by what I thought a similarity, namely, that the mainstream media had clearly invested significant resources in what in each case I thought a witch-hunt. As I believed that I had hit upon some successful methods for working out what was really going on in the UK I was encouraged to repeat my efforts in the antipodes – this notwithstanding the fact that I knew that many of my discoveries were down to good luck. 4 As it happens, I believe that I was often lucky in the Pell case too, and as a matter of fact, after every paper I did not expect to write another, or had little idea of where the next inspiration would come from. Looking back, though, I can sense a certain logic dictating what was going forward which this bibliographical note will gesture at.
It might be worth making a remark on my motivation. I was drawn into writing on UK politics because on Easter Day Pope Francis had called for the defence of the defenceless in the Holy Land. I was often criticised for being a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, which though no insult (I thought) was not strictly true. Perhaps an equal and opposite confusion may arise in this advocacy. My allegiances were and are firmly with Pope Francis, and although I had not heard of him, I suspect that in some ways I would find myself closer to Brennan than some supporters of Pell. However, I do believe that George Pell has been wronged, and I hope that these writings help him in some small way.
I’ll now briefly comment on the papers in the order that they were written and as listed above.
1. A Methodological Suggestion. This paper takes as its point of departure the guiding idea behind this corpus, namely, that the “narrative” of what Pell was supposed to have done was clearly in a state of flux. I thought that collaborative progress could be made by attempting to clarify what these shifts were and why they occurred. My suggestion was methodological as opposed to substantial, meaning that I was writing generally on how I thought progress could be made rather than making that contribution myself. Subsequently, however, my writings were “substantial” in that I tried to establish something concrete about those shifts.
2. Pell and the Jury. This was an attempt to meet the objection that I thought was most pertinent having read Brennan, namely, that Pell’s jurors may have had a peculiar insight into the demeanour of the complainant that every other commentator lacks, and that therefore the best course is silence. In other words, the essay was about trust. My focus was on Louise Milligan’s Cardinal as I presumed that readers sympathetic to the author would provide the closest approximation to a jury that would convict Pell. It is the longest piece of 8 pages of text and 9 pages of endnotes and many of these notes formulate the difficulties I found closely reading Milligan’s text – or at any rate, the first and last chapters.
3. Boosting Billy Doe? This was a response to an interesting discovery published in Quadrant in which Keith Windschuttle claimed that the complainant may have borrowed his testimony from a notorious case in Philadelphia exposed by Ralph Cipriano. “Billy Doe” was the name given to a scheming altar boy whose lies convicted innocent priests. I made the discovery that an unknown person @LyndsayFarlow (who had already entered my horizons) had not only tweeted about Billy Doe just before Pell’s complainant went to the police in 2015, but that day was communicating with Milligan. However, I was concerned that too much might be made of the alleged similarities, and in this respect I found myself in agreement with Jeremy Gans. That said, Gans added a similarity that had not been mentioned by Windschuttle, namely, the descent into substance abuse of the “victim.” I adverted and returned to the matter of narrative shifts, formulating a list of 15 occasions where the story would have been told and retold.
4. Murmur in the Cathedral takes up the list again. It points out the evasiveness and opacity of Milligan’s book and argues that this can only be explained as an attempt 5 to disguise the awkwardness that these narrative shifts present for the prosecution. The paper deliberately does not mention Billy Doe, but one omission that was unintentional was that “The Kid” must have given some account of his complaint to his lawyer Vivian Waller. Hitherto she had not been in my horizons.
5. Was Doug Smith Milligan’s Source? Milligan claims that she was tipped off about The Kid and his place of work so that she could meet with him in May 2016. This paper asks whether the recently retired head of Sano was in touch with the reporter. Until the verdict was known Smith is conspicuous by his absence both from Milligan’s books and her tweets. However, for several reasons Smith would seem to have been very much engaged post-retirement. For example, we find that when he begins tweeting in March he is “liked” by a chorister who is Milligan’s witness-in-chief, Andrew La Greca. Supposedly he only comes on the scene that May. My question began as a leading question, for I did at first suspect Smith. However, in writing this I changed my mind as I made new discoveries.
6. The Eyes of Billy Doe was originally called Dr Waller and her Dummies and the Eyes of Billy Doe. In the paper I uncovered many characteristics about the handle @LyndsayFarlow that suggested it was an anonymous proxy for Vivian Waller. Although the evidence for the claim has only accumulated in subsequent redrafts, I have to soften the sense in which Farlow “is” Waller, for Farlow only seems to get interested in Church sex abuse from around the time that Operation Tethering was set up (2013). Moreover, Farlow does not speak solely for the legal team but also for victim’s support groups. At any rate, uncovering these links was astonishing, and I began to think that, mediated by Farlow, The Kid’s team must have been the source of Milligan’s inside information. The “eyes” of Billy Doe refers to the way that, with “strategic tears,” juries might be softened up to believe the most ludicrous stories as per Philadelphia.
7. The Irony of Billy Doe returns again to the significance of that story which Farlow had flagged at the time when Pell’s complainant went to the police, surely with some knowledge of that fact as Waller’s mouthpiece. But it was not so much a case of borrowed testimony as an airing of the kind of behaviour that was meant to be typical of priests (covered up by Rome). The irony though is that when the whole story became known as a fabrication, and when that fabrication was compared with the Pell case, the affinities with Billy Doe now became an embarrassment for the prosecution.
8. The Influence of Waller and Barrett now looks at the (covert) links between the legal team Waller Legal and the victims’ support group Broken Rites in virtue of the association with Lyndsay Farlow. I also take a look at the modus operandi of Bernard Barrett, and the overriding concern with redress that is a key feature of both lawyers and support groups by returning to Barrett’s communications with Phil Scot in 2010.
9. Waller’s Role in Operation Tethering looks at Farlow’s closeness to the 2013 police operation. Tellingly, neither “Doug Smith” nor “Operation Tethering” are ever mentioned, but Farlow follows Sano at every key step with eagle eye.
10. The Anti-Pell Smear Campaign takes a look at the vitriol spewed against Pell by Farlow in the month before Pell’s complainant went to the Victorian police. Understandably, this was characterised as a witch-hunt.
11. The Social Media Witch-hunt appeared in Quadrant. It is a concise statement of the findings of the above papers especially (5-6, 8-10). I also think it a clear expression of 6 the distinctive methodology I had originally honed in my study of pro-Israel groups, and provides an insight into how a social media campaign goes about demonising an opponent.
12. The Milieu of the Kid. If it was a witch-hunt that formed the remote conditions for a decision that saw The Kid making a complaint to the police in 2015, this paper considers the proximate conditions. It looks at the pressures on the young man the court called J, and the various people that would have exerted an influence. For example, it takes a look at Andrew La Greca, Milligan’s chorister, who we found to be close to Doug Smith. However, just as I had once quite overlooked a key player when listing the variations of the story-telling (3-4) so I also overlooked an obvious candidate that became centre-stage as I wrote my next piece.
13. Walkabout takes as its point of departure the curious fact that the police only started gathering information on the choristers when they charged Pell. This was just after Milligan had published her book, and she had contacted her choristers a year before that. It also stresses that Milligan seems to have no awareness that the assault was meant to have taken place after Mass which, after all, was why the choristers were be thought important in the trial. Yet Milligan’s chorister (as I have just termed La Greca) was significant chiefly as witnessing the decline of The Choirboy, named R in the court. And so a key figure in The Kid’s milieu belatedly appeared on the radar screen, the one Milligan calls John, the father of R.
14. The Kid, The Choirboy, and the Conjunction takes up this important perspective. For now, and with closer reading of the text, I began to see that although The Kid seems to be all-important at first, Milligan’s book is better seen as a vindication of The Choirboy, and the tragedy of his life as affecting his mother, sister, nephew, and niece. The paper speaks of a “hunch,” though perhaps it was a “hint,” namely of an Italian dimension. Now the attention is on the way in which it is obvious that, as regards the pecuniary motive for bringing a complaint, it is John who is calling the shots. This the “honorary probation officer” with whom J had stayed for some weeks as a child, and who had met with J again at his son’s funeral, yet who unconvincingly had let it be known that the two had not communicated since.
15. Milligan and the Kid opens perhaps the most important avenue of inquiry. The methodology in (14) takes Milligan seriously as providing data, information that is nonetheless distorted as the apologist twists it for her own ends. In focussing on her vindication of The Choirboy the significance falls on the final, culminating chapter. However, in this paper (15) I returned to the first four pages of Milligan’s book to consider quite a surprising hypothesis. Despite Milligan’s immense sympathy for The Kid, he is not actually pleased to see her, and despite what we presume to be Milligan’s confidence that her source has The Kid’s best interest at heart we are prepared to take his concern more seriously. That is, we raise the question of whether The Kid (a) has some idea of who Milligan’s source is, (b) senses that it is that source who presents a danger to him (not Pell), and (c) is quite correct about both (a) and (b). For by now my understanding has drawn sharper lines between the interests of The Kid and The Choirboy – or rather, his father, who unwittingly perhaps, has Milligan dancing to his tune. These matters, I believe, deserve further exploration, and have led me to change my mind again about Milligan’s source.
- Just after the appeal, however, we have added a post-script. We try to think through some possibilities, first, regarding the eventual disclosure of J and R 7 that we think inevitable, not least because of the clues that Milligan gives, second, on whether the influence of Southwell exerted its effect only with a meeting of Barrett and J late 2014, or before that, even when J and R were teenagers. We also reason that at the slightest hint of J mentioning R Barrett would have sought to contact the father – regardless of whether or not J would have wished him to.
16. The Credibility of Les Tyack was the last piece to be written when this note was first published. Milligan claims that her initial suspicions were overturned by her encounter with this Torquay businessman. Yet we find his recollections incredible, and provide some evidence that suggests that Milligan would have been aware of his stories earlier than she lets on, and that besides, Tyack’s links with the ABC provide us with a clue as to why he came forward. After we wrote we also added as note from a former student and friend of Pell’s for over forty years who was coached by Pell (rowing) and who holidayed with Pell and family for around fifteen years. It seems as though Pell only used the Surf Club for parking, and never showered there.
17. The Credibility of Phillip Scott also deals with a witness Milligan found credible, namely, the career criminal Phil Scott who alleged that Pell had assaulted him in 1961/2. The Southwell inquiry did not establish this claim, but nonetheless the judge reckoned that to some extent Scott seemed credible. An examination of the report shows that the judge’s conclusion was based on the weight that he put on his wife’s evidence that her husband had mentioned an assault in 1975, 14 or so years before Scott actually complained to Broken Rites. I look at Costigan’s report into organised crime associated with the Trades Union of which Scott was an executive member, and which devotes a whole chapter to the man and his supervisory role into illegal betting. The picture indicates very well why Scott’s wife might be willing to back up her husband, thus undermining somewhat the judge’s faith in her as an honest witness. Far from providing an insight into Pell’s modus operandi, I suggest that we turn instead into the victims’ support groups involved. Interestingly, just as J was about to complain Milligan visited Scott and Lyndsay Farlow tweeted about him (just after tweeting on Billy Doe). Borrowed testimony, perhaps?
18. The Heuristics of the Eureka Pool is our last piece written just before Pell’s appeal. It examines the “tendency” evidence that Milligan garners from a group of adults from Ballarat recalling how George Pell behaved in the Eureka Pool when they were children. As a collective “memory” the contrivance is clear enough: from this basis Pell is made a serial offender. Here we discern the ruling spirit. The Pell Affair is haunted by the ghost of Southwell. We end gnomically. We invite our readers to look again at (15) Milligan and the Kid in which we make our guess that The Kid in the RSL has been backed into a corner by him.
- We have also added a post-script relating to Phil Nagle. I give a brief history of this ardent advocate for redress who (like Smith and La Greca) only appears in Milligan’s 2019 edition. With Mooney, Nagle conveniently claims to recall Pell’s towelling technique from the time he was a child, and with Peter Blenkiron, Nagle travels to Rome to meet with Pell. Also on pilgrimage is now disgraced David Ridsdale who had accused Pell of lying and bribery in a 60 Minutes programme of 2002. This is of special significance because it was that occasion that prompted Scott’s “recollection” that it was Pell who had abused him, or at any rate, was the occasion of Scott’s formal complaint 8 that led to Southwell. We get some sense of the Get Pell forces in their beginnings.
19. Milligan on Plangere looks at a chapter of Cardinal that seeks to undermine a police report that itself examines the findings of Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson. This claimed that 43 Ballarat suicides could be directly attributable to clerical abuse, a scandal that when leaked triggered the Victorian inquiry. Operation Plangere (which was suppressed) refuted Carson’s analysis, and could verify just 1 of the 43 named by Carson. I show that Milligan’s emotional tirade attacking Plangere is completely devoid of substance. In fact, the thinly veiled point is to suggest that Pell witnessed and covered up the rape of one man who died suspiciously in 2004, and that this fact was itself covered up by corrupt Catholic police. Incidentally, Carson’s input into the Victorian Commission is directly mirrored by the input of discredited Peter Fox who triggered the Royal Commission.
- A post-script has now been written that looks at the previous chapter, “Doubt.” Again, the chief purpose is to slander Pell by citing an unnamed sister of one of the suicides that Carson alleged to have been sexually assaulted (Wayne Brennan) that in 1974 Pell, with two others, visited the family home and arranged for her brother to go to a new school with fees paid. The sister distinctly recalls Pell’s face, but not the others with him. A very different position is taken by the other brother who is not asked about the meeting. Milligan dismisses (Paul) invoking the supposedly unbiased opinion of Pat Moran with whom she is fortuitously brought into contact. Not only is Moran one of Carson’s sources but an advocate of Dignan. He, too, insinuates a conspiracy behind Plangere on the grounds that they should have contacted him and even that they falsely claimed that they did so. I have to pass on the merits of this claim as the relevant passages seem to be redacted, but on the question of sexual assault (contradicted by Wayne’s brother) I indicate that Milligan has passed over Plangere’s reference to the Coroner’s report that made no mention of such a thing.
20. To Define True Conspiracy takes a look at Cardinal’s chapter on Michael Breen. We argue that the purpose is to refute a conspiracy theory. We take the reader through Milligan’s “catechism” whereby difficulties are anticipated and rebutted, and then, with equal contrivance, we look at Breen’s testimony cut from the same cloth as the other Eureka allegations, and bearing the imprint of Southwell. For this reason we persist with our conspiracy. We look at the interesting case of David Ridsdale who, awkwardly, makes no such allegations against Pell. Milligan quite ignores him, but in our view the Eureka allegations “borrow” from the testimony of Ridsdale. Finally, we adverted to the ease in which the police could run through the criminal class of Ballarat East to find their “victims,” amplifying such testimony where necessary.
21. On the “Indicia” looks at the prosecution’s argument in the appeal that the truthfulness of the complainant is indicated by the fact that he situated his allegation in the very sacristy that unusually Pell would have been using at the time. I repeat some observations about the shiftiness and evasiveness of the complainant’s story and think through the slightly trivial point that he would probably not have been aware that priests and bishops used different sacristies anyway.
Our research has been conducted literally on the other side of the world, with very little knowledge of the Australian scene (the trial, and in general, Australian politics), using open 9 sources – which can be checked by anyone with the internet. We made our ideas public, inviting suggestions, and in fact benefited from comments. Some of the good ideas, actually, were not “ours” in that they came into being as commentators raised various points, for example, that at first Pell was not informed that the abuse took place after Mass.
I will conclude this phase of the Pell papers here. Concerned by Truth and Justice in an Australian Court, I read the short piece in Eureka Street five or six times. By asking myself what was going on I attended especially as to variations in the story. Often I had to revise my ideas, and many unknowns remain. With the rest of the public I am still unclear, for example, about where, when, and with whom the involvement of Pell, and also of R, was first alleged in J’s complaint.
Indeed, throughout my investigation I have sometimes found myself pondering the words of another Jesuit who wrote at length on the nature of human understanding. Bernard Lonergan began his great work Insight with the words: In the ideal detective story the reader is given all the clues yet fails to spot the criminal. However, I will conclude with Louise Milligan’s last words (after Immanuel Kant and Peter Blenkiron): Truth is the daughter of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.
Although I fully expected Pell’s appeal to be successful, I was wrong. The following papers were published after the ruling had been given 21 August. However, before that time, and after the ruling had been heard 5/6 June, I had prepared a long paper on Milligan which heads a new trenche of essays.
22. Milligan’s Cardinal is a long review article on the incriminating book. It draws on and puts together much of the evidence just presented. It examines the networks behind the “Get Pell” conspiracy, with special attention to the key time of May 2015. A description of the dishonest rhetoric is given, and the focus of Milligan’s advocacy is detailed.
23. An Abbreviation of Mark Weinberg’s Dissent, is exactly that: a close precis reducing around 190 pages to 19.
24. A Very Short Summary, however, gives a rendition in just four pages. I look at the way Weinberg homes in on the salient issue of timing, the “solid obstacle and response argument,” the legal principles involved along with a synopsis of recent cases, the notion of compounding probabilities, the strength of Pell’s alibi and his denials, and the difficulties that his case faced.
25. Weinberg, Ferguson, and Maxwell in Conversation is the first of a series of notes written in preparation for (30). This note looks at subtle changes (which I tabulate) treat the “solid obstacles.”
26. Weinberg, Ferguson, and Maxwell in Conversation 2 continues by looking at the differing treatments on key issues including: Timing, Robed and alone, Madman Theory, Sopranos at the front, Rehearsal timescale, “Parting” the robes, Swigging the wine, Knowledge of the sacristy, Improbability, The February Mass.
27. Ferguson and Maxwell on Credibility looks at the absurdity that follows when subjective evidence such as “demeanour” is alone used to convict beyond reasonable doubt, that is, without any objective evidence – not least that when this 10 move is taken the subjective evidence prevails even when objective exculpatory evidence is present.
28. Ferguson and Maxwell on Credibility 2 is the fourth note that continues to look at just how Weinberg corrects his fellow judges. It advances the (highly surprising) claim that never do the majority ever bring themselves to say that they personally find Pell guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
29. The Constitutional Role of the Jury is the final note. It looks at the differing approaches to the jury, said to have the constitutional role as a tribunal of fact, and the stance an appellate judge should take, which in Weinberg’s view involves making an “independent assessment on the whole of the evidence.” This is at a premium on those occasions noted by Walker (after McHugh) in which juries become subject to prejudices and even hysterias.
30. A Very Short Critique of Ferguson and Maxwell summarise the above five notes in four pages. It shows how Weinberg refutes the majority, first, by describing the main features of the ruling, and second, by explaining why exactly that ruling was deficient. The first part is again divided into a description of (i) the methods and (ii) the content of the ruling as is the second part which examines decision-making, of (i) “community’s microcosm,” the jury, and (ii) the responsible judge who has to make an independent assessment based on the whole of the evidence.
31. The Hiatus Theory is a series of nine notes written in preparation for (40). The hiatus theory alleged by the Crown goes to the most implausible extremes in the attempt to make room for an opportunity for the six-minute opportunity for Pell’s abuse to happen.
32. Putting Portelli to One Side shows the lengths the majority go in order to negate the alibi for the defence. Nonetheless, for every point made two rebuttals are given by the dissent, who, though perhaps not having a definitive response, at least has the better argument, summed up in Weinberg’s conclusion.
33. The Contrivance of Cardinal Pell examines the Rome interview in which Pell clearly seems to be unaware of the locale for the abuse until told. I carefully tabulate the responses, looking at how the sacristy is “populated” in the 42 minutes and argue that as a contrivance this performance is fantastic. And anyone who argues thus has to explain why the contrivance was never cited in evidence (I am the only person to have done so, I think).
- A post-script adds an equivalent point regarding Pell’s “implicit feigned ignorance” that the Archbishop’s Sacristy was out of order
- By way of digression I note that in Rome the police show no interest whatsoever in the Ballarat accusations or the other allegations dismissed at committal – a clear sign that these spurious complaints were only ever intended to bolster the main one.
34. The Return of the Choristers looks at the issue that I find palpably shows how the majority are reduced to clutching at straws in finding the complainant credible in the novelties relating to what happened after the “first incident” – when faced with the objective constraints thrown up by Connor’s diary and the rehearsals schedule.
35. Credible not Reliable considers the fact that the prosecution, though regarding the complainant honest (that is credible) nevertheless do not rely on him, say regarding times and dates. I explore a point that has tended to be passed over, namely, that at first the complainant alleged 1997 as the year of the abuse – which would have been 11 his second and final year at St Kevin’s. I articulate the reasons why he probably did mean this date, though I have to tease out the idea more carefully in (37) and (39).
36. An Eighteenth Solid Obstacle argues that had the abuse taken place when the trial decided it was it would have been at such a time that the complainant could not have forgotten. In fact, the students would have broken up from St Kevin’s by 15th December 1996 for the summer holidays.
37. The Surprise of the Sacristy puts the reader in the position of Detective Reed discovering (a) that the Archbishop’s Sacristy lacked wine, (b) that the abuse was in 1996, and (c) that renovations then meant that Pell would not have used the sacristy so that … 2+2=5.
38. From Committal to Trial looks at the shifts in “memory” from March 2018 to September. On the “exciting” question of the robes, the point, as Weinberg clarified, was not that an assault was impossible in an alb, but that it was impossible in the way that the complainant originally alleged, so that, in a very long transcript of over 30 responses, the defence exposed the shiftiness of the complainant – something Weinberg but not the majority are alert to.
39. Why 1997? Attempts a little more clarity on just why the complainant might have chosen spring 1997 as the time for the abuse: The Choirboy spiralled in September. But, apparently, the decline had set in earlier, as perhaps Reed realised after speaking to the father. 1997 was too late.
- I add that in December 2015 the police put out a call for victims of abuse at the Cathedral specifically aged 14.
40. Credibility and the Rulings puts in summary form, the weakness of relying on the credibility of the complainant.
41. Can Belief and Doubt Co-exist responds to the objection that Walker, in lodging his appeal to the High Court, is trying to “have his cake and eat it” (in allowing for the credibility of the complainant to go unchallenged). I take it he is not, (a) because the so-called credibility is merely an initial plausibility, and (b) Walker is just addressing one strand of the case, namely, the reversal of the burden of proof as per the majority stance.
42. The Moment I knew looks in detail at the complainant as a boy who “did not want to rock boats.” I find seventeen problems in this account.
43. Weinberg and the Hiatus asks about Weinberg’s opinion on the hiatus theory, something he never mentions. It’s clear though, that he has devoted much thought to the matter and the relevant “solid obstacle” gets more sections than any other. Briefly, it seems clear that he finds the possibility of a hiatus practically impossible. He begins by giving Potter’s testimony that he would unlock the Priests’ Sacristy about five minutes after the end of Sunday solemn Mass, just as the altar servers started to return. By factoring in the return of the altar servers (something that Windschuttle had done, but I had not in 31 above) the hiatus is revealed as clearly unfeasible. Weinberg then strengthens Potter’s evidence in many ways, and clearly finds the sacristan reliable on matters of liturgical practice – as he states in his conclusion.
44. The Social Media Witch-Hunt Revisited considers the impact of the Carl Beech case (in UK’s Operation Midland). It is taken up in Australia be key influencers such as Lyndsay Farlow and Peter Saunders (who was in touch with Beech in 2012, and supported him even as the case had turned to jelly). It is suggested that one reason 12 why the Pell case flared up when it did (after a lull from the time of Southwell) is precisely because of the hysteria in the UK surrounding lurid tales of paedophile rings in Westminster.
45. Believing Victims and Operational Stupidity was written having read through the lengthy report on Operation Midland by Sir Richard Henriques. The many mistakes made by the police are detailed, and Henriques identifies the key error, to treat any complainant as a “victim” so that he is “believed.” This stems from the scandal of Jimmy Savile (who incidentally was dead when the complainants came forward). One point to make is that the gullibility of the police was quite obvious some who complained, at first, as a joke – the case of David, for example, who nevertheless got an airing on the opposite side of the world from Lyndsay Farlow! I make a comparison with that vague character at the committal who would respond to the magistrate with, “Whatever mate, whatever.” That the police (and CPS) had allowed this person to take the stand clearly indicates a comparable gullibility in Australia.
46. Lucy Morris and Margaret takes a look at the investigative practices of the UK born journalist formerly known as “Lucy Morris.” As a close look at the opening chapter of Fallen reveals, not only a reversion to the disgraced behaviour of the freelance, but some links with Lyndsay Farlow in the witch-hunt.
47. Lucy’s on the Road Again takes a close look at the Police Probe Pell article. I suggest that Morris-Marr may have been used by others, and though instrumental, probably not too clued up in what was going on.
48. Milligan and the Year looks at the journalist’s appreciation that the original 1997 date was awkward – as it would seem that it was only revised to make the assaults a cause of the other boy’s decline, and such a stratagem points to a motive undermining credibility. I show how implausible the 1997 date was and ask about the reasons why Detective Reed came to realise that it did not fit the narrative. Then I show how careful Milligan is to (a) suggest that the assaults happened in the first half of 1997 while, (b) not actually ruling out 1996. Here it can be repeated that the timing settled on by the Crown actually placed the first incident in the summer holiday, a circumstance scarcely to be forgotten.
49. The Crook considers the route taken by Pell’s mitre and crozier to argue that the so-called hiatus could only have been in the first five minutes after Mass.
50. Investigative Journalism and the Pell Case represents a methodological statement. It is very loosely based on Lonergan’s canons for empirical science, but as applied to investigative journalism based on open sources. Quite literally, most of this paper was cut and pasted, for I had made exactly the same point in the paper Reason and Investigative Journalism which I had applied in my research on what an Israeli General had once termed “purposely timed hysteria.”
51. But He isn’t Wearing Anything at All! The allusion is to “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” It returns for a fourth time to the hiatus theory and focuses on the fact that, although the majority raise the question of when the altar servers returned to the sacristy (having participated in the external procession), that question is subsequently side-lined with the consequence that they can ignore how unfeasible it would be for the abuse to take place in the fleeting five minutes immediately after Mass.
52. South Transept Gloria Mundi simply make the point that, supposing two choristers were to re-enter St Patrick’s Cathedral after Mass by the South Transept that could 13 only mean that the doors were open to let parishioners out. But if so, then the choristers would have seen the people, and brazenly embark on their escapade going against this flow.
53. The Second Incident discusses the degree of brazenness of the allegations with respect to the second incident alleged to have occurred in an internal procession.
54. The Hiatus and the Crown takes a fourth look at the hiatus theory. It cites the transcript of a conjecture that the Crown had to retract that represented what might be termed the “late hiatus” move. In this version the hiatus is supposed to have happened after the altar servers returned, something quite unsupported by the trial evidence. In any case, any alleged hiatus pertains to the sanctuary rather than the sacristy (which would have been busy receiving collection money to deposit, concelebrating priests, and so on).
55. The Problem of the Hiatus now reviews the development of five pieces on the hiatus. It represents my opinion that, of all the arguments in defence of Cardinal Pell, the “refutation of the hiatus theory” has emerged as perhaps the most cogent. I end by glancing at “Ground 2” of Bret Walker’s High Court appeal that makes a similar point (although he does not consider the late hiatus move). The development might be characterised as my attempt to reach up to the ruling of Mark Weinberg.
56. The Background Thinking to the Rome Interview attempts to spell out the state of the knowledge of Pell and the police in October 2016 looking at the time of the assault (both incidents in 1996, with the first no later than November), the confusion over the two sacristies, and the complete absence of any account of a procession in the complainant’s story at that time. Pell’s ignorance of various details connected with the allegations – that they happened after Mass and at a time when he was not actually saying Mass, I argue, can only be explained by his innocence.