Saturday, July 1, 2017


The news that Australian Cardinal George Pell, currently number 3 in the Vatican hierarchy and in charge of the Church's finances, has been summoned to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 18 days days time where he is to face multiple historic sex charges has sent shock waves around the Catholic world and beyond.

It's not just Cardinal Pell that will be on trial.    The Catholic Church; the Victorian Police; the Courts system itself will also be under intense scrutiny.  

There will be huge media interest in 'the boy from Ballarat', born to a Church of England father and a devoutly Irish Catholic mother, and so there should be but, above all, he is entitled to a fair trial and, like all others, must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Like Tony Abbott, Cardinal Pell has been subjected to a non stop campaign of deceit, half truths and plain outright lies by the ABC, Fairfax media and others. Nothng short of a modern day witch hunt.

I hope he is found innocent.

The Veteran said...

Adolf ... trial by media is unfair. Pell's guilt or innocence will be determined based on the evidence (or lack of) presented. As this is a criminal trial the higher standard of evidence will apply ... beyond reasonable doubt. Let 'justice' take its course.

David said...

Well then Adolf, as the suppository of all wisdom regarding Pell, I assume you will be the star witness at the trial as you prove Pell's innocence.

Your final sentence gives away your bias.

If nothing else, Pell has blood on his hands for his intransigence in the face of evidence and for his bullying of victims to take less that they deserved in compensation. Pell was never interested in getting to the truth, he was concerned with protecting the Church's wealth.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Well no, it doesn't.

And as for suppositories, you must qualify as the master of the Italian version, innuendo.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...


I could be argued that the virulent media anti-Pell campaigns in Australia render the chance of a fair trial remote.

The Veteran said...

Adolf ... that's why I said there's a lot of institutions going to be on trial besides Pell and that includes the media. Picking a jury is not going to be easy ... for instance do they exclude all RCs on the basis that their loyalty to 'their' church might see them biased towards Pell. The converse might also be argued ... with the 'Davids' of this world and you could see an anti-church bias emerge.

It will require a very experienced Judge to navigate thru this particular minefield.

What you can count on is wall to wall media coverage.

David said...

Veteran, it was Adolf who wrote I hope he is found innocent., thus showing bias before the evidence his heard. I have made no such claim about guilt or innocence, as I, along with the rest of the nation, are yet to hear the actual charges Pell is to face. Under those circumstances it is impossible to take sides.

Were I on the jury, I would hear and weigh the evidence. Adolf has already declared he wouldn't.

As for Adolf's claim of a witch hunt, let's wait and see. If a trial finds Pell Guilty then it won’t be a witch hunt, will it? The difference, of course, is that witches don’t actually exist, whereas lying, dirty dealing and corrupt priests and pedophiles do.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

There he goes, lying again. To hope a person is found innocent is not evidence of bias. It is the result of a completely unjust campaign being waged against the man whom I suspect will be found innocent once the hard evidence is heard and all the real biased stuff excluded.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to the Jury, and be careful who you call a paedophile. Some years ago an Englishman (19) cheerfully admitted he had sex with an extremely pretty, experienced and willing girl who as it happened was only 14. He had the good sense to consummate the act in Portugal where the age of consent is.....yes 14.

So you can be a paedophile in one country but not another. Man made laws do not suit all men.

Lord Egbut

Psycho Milt said...

Regardless of whether the allegations of child abuse are true or not, Pell is an appalling character and any vilification he's suffered in the media has been well earned.

There's the multiple 60 Minutes investigations that showed him lying about what he knew of sexual offending by priests in his charge (this one has a particularly good example, and also notes that minutes of meetings Pell attended showed the paedophile Ridsdale "needed to be moved" to a different diocese 9 times).

There's also his testimony to the Royal Commission, described here:

He also said Ridsdale's offending, once he did become aware of it, was a "sad story" but was "not of much interest" to him.

And he answered no when asked whether every priest has responsibility for the safety of children taken into the Church's care.

Then there's the "Pell process" he set up for dealing with victims of sexual abuse by priests, which consisted of offering them $50,000 "compensation" if they'd sign a confidentiality agreement and not press charges.

He is a loathesome individual and all of this couldn't happen to a worthier candidate.

Psycho Milt said...

Damn, the 60 Minutes link went awol - let's try that again:

There's the multiple 60 Minutes investigations that showed him lying about what he knew of sexual offending by priests in his charge (this one has a particularly good example, and also notes that minutes of meetings Pell attended showed the paedophile Ridsdale "needed to be moved" to a different diocese 9 times).

The Veteran said...

PM ... thank you for that. I wasn't aware that the Pope's top advisor on child abuse considered Pell to be 'dangerous'. But we do need to be careful about trial by media.

You might argue that anyone who has seen that 60 Minutes investigation should be recused from sitting as a jury member.

This trial will attract huge passions from all sides. I don't know too much about the Oz legal system but it seems to me this case might be better heard by a panel of three Judges with no jury.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

PM '60 Minutes' is hardly a reliable source of information. I have personal experience of their chicanery and editing to produce the result they want. So, I believe does president George W Bush.

David said...

Vet, you may be right about trial by judge alone being a better choice, but Pell is charged under Victorian law and Victoria does not have that as an option.

Yes, there is a lot about Pell already in the public domain, it will be up to the lawyers to present either compelling evidence to gain a conviction or well argued rebuttal to obtain an acquittal.

We have seen similar trials before, and mostly the system seems to function.

As you will see, this is one of the reason the Adolfs despise the ABC, for their efforts to uncover the truth.

It was the ABC's Louise Milligan's reporting and book "Cardinal" that set the scene for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sex Abuse. Her book, BTW, has been withdrawn from sale in Victoria now the trial is pending, but that won't stop people seeking it out, nor does it remove the copies already in circulation.

Similarly, it was the ABC's Chris Masters with his investigative report "The Moonlight State" that led to the establishment of the Fitzgerald Inquiry and the revelations of corruption in Queensland police and politics. It lead to the jailing of a Police Commissioner and the charging of a Premier with perjury. Master's reporting and the Inquiry did noy inhibit a fair trial for the accused. However, Bjelke Petersen avoided a conviction due to the personal loyalty of a juror. This was well documented at the time and dramatised in "Joh's Jury".

Pell will have his day in court, and if the judge is not on top of his game the defence will soon pounce. Should Pell be convicted, I predict there will be years of appeals and Pell will die without ever setting foot in a prison cell.