The so-called ‘hiatus’ is the critical element in the prosecution’s case against Cardinal Pell. It refers to a time framework during which the sacristy where Cardinal is alleged to have abuse two choirboys was unattended, allowing Pell to have free unimpeded use. Anybody who knows anything about serving Mass – not just at St Patrick’s Cathedral – knows that people are everywhere active after Mass. It is especially the case at St Patrick’s Cathedral when it is a Solemn High Mass for a special occasion.
It’s just embarrassing nonsense for the state prosecutors and the majority in the appeal to seriously maintain there were five to six minutes when the fully robed archbishop, unimpeded, could take two 13-year-old boys and force them to engage in three sex acts as if in some miraculous way the priest’s sacristy with Pell and the choirboys had warped into another dimension. Indeed, that’s what it would have taken – warping into another dimension. The prosecution and majority had to execute some tricky ballet moves to get what they wanted but only ended up tripping themselves into a farcical tangle. It would make a great Monty Python sketch if it wasn’t for the appalling injustice.
Chris Friel takes up the impossibility of the five to six minutes to focus on the lack of principle in the prosecutions’ fancy footwork to make the free-time proposition credible.
It Only Takes Five Minutes
Chris S Friel
‘What I shall do, though, is show just how unprincipled the case against Pell is, indeed, sneaky.‘
The Crown has been check-mated by the hiatus. According to the prosecution the complainant was assaulted during an interval of five to six minutes in a normally busy sacristy. It can be shown,however, that no opportunity existed for such an assault to occur undetected. The Crown suggest that a hiatus arose within the hive of activity. But a breakdown of the cases shows that this is impossible.
For either the hiatus was early, that is, before the processing altar servers returned to the sacristy or else it was late, that is, just after the servers returned. It can’t have been early for the room was locked, and besides, the errant choristers could not have got to the room before the servers. It can’t have been late for the court heard evidence that the activity of clearing up the sacristy began immediately, and besides, concelebrating priests were also part of the procession and when they arrived at the sacristy they stayed to chat.
The game is over.
Along with others, I have argued this point in fine detail over many pages.i However, in this paper I shall spell out the unprincipled way in which the prosecutors tried to have it both ways. Sometimes they painted a picture of an early hiatus; sometimes they painted a late hiatus. It’s the lack of principle that I wish to spell out.
In what follows, then, I shall try locate the contentions, first for an early, and then for a late hiatus.Individually, these arguments cannot be sustained but I shall not dwell on the point here as elsewhere I have already attended to the issues with some care. What I shall do, though, is show just how unprincipled the case against Pell is, indeed, sneaky. Let’s begin with the early hiatus.