CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The Pell Decision

Apr 7, 2020

A few quick words on the Pell decision:

The High Court of Australia has just handed down its decision concerning Cardinal George Pell and charges of child sexual abuse. In a unanimous 7-0 decision, it has quashed his conviction. Thus his 404 days in prison have just come to an end.

Millions of words have already been penned on this case, and millions will be in the days ahead. So I have very little of anything new or unique to add here. Let me just present part of one news account on this decision, and then make a few brief points.

Cardinal George Pell has won his High Court appeal in a unanimous decision with his conviction overturned and is expected to be released from Barwon Prison near Geelong in Victoria shortly. The High Court’s Chief Justice Susan Kiefel handed down the full bench’s ruling to an almost empty High Court registry in Brisbane where she resides at 10am on Tuesday. The court ruled there is a significant possibility that an innocent person had been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof.

“The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place,” the summary of the decision said. The other six justices remained at home while the decision was tweeted and the full decision of 26 pages has now been published online. www.afr.com/work-and-careers/leaders/george-pell-wins-appeal-20200406-p54ho2

Here is the decision for those who want to read it in full: www.hcourt.gov.au/assets/publications/judgment-summaries/2020/hca-12-2020-04-07.pdf

Here then are a number of brief, bullet point matters that I wish to raise:

-I have actually met Pell a few times and I may even have shared platforms with him over the years. I have always found him to be a kind, gracious and caring man.

-I have long questioned the charges made against him, as did so many others.

-Conservatives like Andrew Bolt (an agnostic) have long fought on his behalf. He and many others felt that this was a witch hunt and a major travesty of justice.

-The ABC is especially spitting chips right now – they have been at the forefront of seeking to have Pell locked up at all costs, along with so many other Christophobic and leftist outlets.

-This really was a case of a left-wing lynch mob in action.

-The reason why the left hates Pell so much is not just because he is Catholic, but because he has been a solid conservative in all areas – politics, culture wars, marriage and family, and even on the dangers of Islam.

-No, I am not a closet Catholic, nor am I a fan of the current pope – he is appalling, as so many devout Catholics fully believe. But this is not a sectarian issue: it is an issue of justice.

-Yes there is sexual abuse in parts of the Catholic church, just as there is sexual abuse in parts of Protestant churches. And there is of course plenty of child sexual abuse and paedophilia found in all sorts of non-religious places, be they schools, child-care centres or what have you. I of course approve of none of it.

-Folks should not allow sectarian bigotry to colour their views. Today’s decision makes it clear that the case against Pell was very weak indeed and it had to be thrown out.

-Some people simply hate Pell and hate all things Catholic, so no amount of evidence will convince them of his innocence. This was a unanimous decision, yet some folks still want to ignore the evidence and keep lashing out: ‘I still think he is guilty.’ Heaven help us if we just go on our own biases and bigotries instead of on the facts of the case.

-I am not saying every court case gets it right – often they can get it wrong. But the evidence against Pell was always very shaky, and this unanimous decision would seem to strongly vindicate Pell.

-Those who simply want to keep hating on Pell and Catholicism are advised to take it elsewhere thanks. I will NOT be printing any of their sectarian comments here.

-Finally, with this unanimous 7-0 ruling going Pell’s way, we can now hope for something similar for Dr Jereth Kok, who has also undergone his own travesty of justice. You can see his story here: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/03/30/the-big-brother-purge-of-conservative-christians-in-australia/

Please pray for George Pell. It has been quite an ordeal he has gone through for the past few years. Although now out of prison, as a 78-year-old, he will still be in lockdown because of corona – but this will be a much better way for him to remain isolated.

And pray for all genuine victims of child sexual abuse, and that all real perpetrators of this are caught and dealt with justly.

[827 words]

56 Responses to The Pell Decision

  • Thank you Bill! I hadn’t heard the news yet and it was good to hear of the decision first through you and to read your comments which I agree with. I believe the High Court made the right decision in this case and I am glad Pell will walk free. There is one Judge who knows the absolute truth about everything and we will all be held accountable for our sins.

  • Brilliantly and powerfully expressed Bill.
    Praise God for Cardinal Pell’s release, and praying with you for him.

  • I have no truck with the catholic church as I think that it is a criminal organization not a church but in my heart of hearts, I felt Pell was innocent so I am very pleased by the verdict.

  • Praised be Jesus Christ! This is overwhelmingly good news, a small break and a moment of respite from the dreary news of late. Now let Cardinal Pell’s slanderers, false accusers and haters repent of their grievous sins and turn, lest they be found guilty themselves before the Court of Heaven, where there will no chance of appeal and the verdict immutable.

    As a faithful Catholic, I am greatly consoled by this news. However, I’m sure the Vatican isn’t though! Along with the majority of so-called ‘Catholics’.

    Thanks for the wonderful article Bill, and for your most recent articles, and may you have a blessed Easter.

  • I am Protestant like you Bill, & do not wish to support or condemn Catholics here.
    I haven’t read the complete judgement; however from what I read of the initial trial, I believe that there was a major procedural flaw.
    In Australian Law, as in ancient Jewish Law, a person needs the testimony of 2 or more witnesses to be convicted.
    However, it appeared to me that Cardinal Pell was convicted on the testimony of one witness only, whom the court deemed to be “credible”, as the second witness, who could have supported the evidence, had already died.
    That being said, Jesus & Stephen were convicted on the collaborative witness of more than 2 false witnesses, whom the Gospel writers remind us, that their evidence even contradicted each other!

  • This was a long time coming..an incredible injustice and a witness to the leftist narrative and bigotry…What concerned me also was that the Catholics threw the guy under the bus!..

  • Thanks Bill, a very balanced summation. We have and will pray for George Pell, and for you as you continue seeking to provide your readers with valuable and factual information on issues of the day. We are not closet Catholics either but I have admired George Pell for his clarity on moral issues ever since I first saw him on a televised discussion, including the actors, following the final episode of the Australian series, “Brides of Christ.” The question was, in essence, whether there is any benefit in “following the faith.” When the microphone was given to George he simply said (and I think it was during the Grim Reaper campaign) “If everyone followed the faith we wouldn’t have AIDS.” Nobody said a word, nobody challenged him, it was on to the next person and question.

  • In a unanimous 7-0 decision, it has quashed his conviction. Thus his 404 days in prison have just come to an end.

    More than that, Bill.

    The High Court Justices did two things
    a) quashed the conviction (what the US courts call “vacating the decision of the lower court”)
    and
    b) declared Pell to be acquitted of all charges.

    That is, they did not send the case back for retrial but definitively declared it to be over.

  • Drue McL, not all Catholics threw him under a bus. I know of quite a few who oppose him and his views, object to his actions with the Melbourne Response and internationally, there were those who did not want him to expose corruption in church finances and the Vatican bureaucracy. But there was also a number who supported him during this terrible time.

  • Praise God Mr Pell has been vindicated & for the High Court of Australia!
    Re Dr Kok – what wickedness!
    Here is a portion of the Hippocratic Oath that Doctors take:
    “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even, verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein. ”
    I encourage all Commenters to email the Medical Board of Australia and maybe we could get up a petition & maybe getting in touch with the Federal Health Minister would be good???!!
    Evil prevails when good men do nothing!

  • As a male who works great with kids and has never done anything more that receive and give hugs, and still get looked at poorly by female teachers around me (I wanted to go into elementary ed at on point and did volunteer work), men when it come to kids and any kind of sexual accusation are GUILTY until PROVEN INNOCENT! it is a shame and who so many men steer clear of professions that deal with kids (feminism doesn’t do us any favors in this area either). NO MAN wants to deal with that. and I have seen plenty of stories of guys who once they are accused their lives are over even when they are found NOT GUILTY. the accusation is enough. this predates #MeToo As a society certain accusations turn us into lynch mobs we seem to turn off our brains and not think just react. We say we are wanting justice but we don’t even know that a crime has happened. How many nice men have had their lives ruined because someone insisted that no MAN could be that nice to kids there has to be SOMETHING ELSE going on. how many children have had their lives ruined either had to say something happed that didn’t to please someone (mommy, cops, prosecutors) or being forced to believe something happed that never did (via counselors or mommy). we need to as a society step back and examine things honestly not put the noose before the gavel. An accusation is just that an accusation with out proof it means nothing. Prince Charles has been accused of having Diana killed but without proof it means nothing. anyone can accuse anyone else of anything the question is can it be proven. Are there cases where people get away with it?? yes but but those are few. and even in those cases there often is some evidence to point to the persons guilt. often in these cases there is no evidence of guilt and people are simply “but what if he did do it???” when that is the excuse it proves they won’t accept anything but a guilty verdict they have tried and convicted him themselves and nothing else matters. the sad thing is all too many christians join the hysteria too all too many will say but what is he did do it. they will refuse fellowship shun the person or even harass. They will do so in the name of christ. they feel they are spiritual and can’t allow such a person as the accused to pollute the body of christ.

  • Now that George Pell’s conviction is quashed and he is declared innocent of these charges, would there be any possibility that he be restored to his former status in the Roman Curia?

  • Thank you for your kind words about the church to which I belong. Our imperfect Catholic Church has great allies among all the Christian Churches. We may have differences, but we have much more that unites us, and the greatest of all is Christ Himself.

  • Even as an atheist, I worried that the Pell case was more politics than truth. There are a number of good articles on Quadrant that made me question the case.

    Good news overall. Let’s hope that the media leave the man and his family alone.

  • There always was a serious doubt and therefore the High Court’s decision is the right one. Pell was a scape goat for the sins of cover up.
    As for Dr Jereth Kok, he was our GP and a better, more caring one you couldn’t find. I hope justice will be served here also

  • Bill, do you think that this decision will tend to persuade the people in power to abolish juries?

  • A ray of light pierces the abyss of darkness and justice finally prevails. Praise God.

  • Juries have a role to play. There have been some very biased judges on occasions and a unanimous decision in the High Court is unususual. Anyway they got it right this time and for the right reasons. But Bill I was surprised by your description of the current Pope as “appalling”. A strong word. I am not apologist for his liberation theology. But I respect your judgement so enlighten me.

  • Thanks John, but you might have been sleeping through the past seven years of his rule. He has pushed just about every leftist PC agenda item imaginable, as well as undermine plenty of traditional Catholic teachings along the way. I have had hyper devout Catholics calling him a “heretic” and worse. A small book would be needed to discuss all of his many crimes and misdemeanours, but maybe a few of my Catholic friends will care to add to this. In the meantime, the conservative Catholic LifeSiteNews offers regular alerts to his worrying teachings and activities: https://www.lifesitenews.com/

  • Thank you, Bill. Always appreciate your work, thanks for publishing this.
    I am a lapsed Catholic, raised in the Catholic Church, and schooled by the Jesuits. Although I consider myself a Christian I have no time what so ever for the Catholic Church. Here are my thoughts on Cardinal Pell’s Acquittal…

    One side did not care in the slightest if Cardinal Pell was guilty. That was shown by the behaviour of the Media, the Victorian Police and the Victorian Courts.
    The Supreme Court had no care if he was guilty or not.
    They simply looked at the evidence previously presented and concluded that Pell’s guilt was NOT proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
    The Supreme Court has acted properly. The Media, the Victorian Police and the Victorian Courts have acted improperly, horribly, they have pursued an innocent man without regard to the evidence before them. They have acted without truth or honour, and thus forfeit their right to Inform, Police and Serve Judgement over the Victorian people.
    I hope Cardinal Pell now sues them all, for Defamation, Perjury, and Wrongful Imprisonment.
    Just as it is the corrupt policeman who is jailed, not the police force itself, the actual people perpetrating this atrocity should have to answer for their actions, not the institutions for which they work.

  • Here is an interesting legal principle from the OT that bears directly on the Pell case in more than one way. Cardinal Pell has graciously declared that he will not seek reciprocal justice, but there is a place for it. How much “malice aforethought” was involved with the testimony against him we probably will never know.
    Deut 19:15-21
    Nb the proper context here for “eye for eye…….”

  • So now is the time for the bigoted ABC, SBS and Victorian police force to be put on trial and made to pay – especially the ABC. Their trial by media of George Pell was even worse than their trial by media of Lindy Chamberlain, where they had the gullible Australia population believing a hungry mother dingo would not take a human baby. Their continued bigotry and false reporting and biased editorializing, opposing anyone who is remotely conservative, must now be brought to an end as well as their constant left-wing propaganda and promotion of every possible sexual immorality under the sun. Their propagandist behavior during the homosexual “marriage” plebiscite was absolutely indefensible but, at least, it can now be used to prove the plebiscite was a complete farce.

    I should add to this, that I was appalled that Victorian judges put aside the testimony of, as I recall, five Catholics to accept the ever changing story of the the complainant who was, very obviously, being coached to continually change his story to fit the facts. When his second claim was demonstrated to be impossible and clearly false, they still stood by their obviously wrongful decision and even claimed the complainant’s testimony had “grown in stature”, in other words these judges were claiming that the fact that he had changed his story was actually a plus. This, of course, is absolute wickedness and these Victorian judges also need to be brought to account. The idea that multiple Catholics must be lying simply because they are Catholics and wanted to protect their church, is not an idea that should be entertained by any group who are meant to not be prejudiced.

  • Thank you Bill for writing up these truthful words about Cardinal George Pell. For me the
    High court reversal of the travesty brought down on the Cardinal is a huge relief.
    It is good to know that the Australian justice system is not totally corrupted.
    Bill Heggers

  • You said, “Yes there is sexual abuse … just as there is …” Let’s not confine this to the church. Secular institutions also have their problems–the secular schools, colleges, media, film and television, abortion mills, etc. But they do not investigate them.

  • Yes Tas, my very next sentence was this: “And there is of course plenty of child sexual abuse and paedophilia found in all sorts of non-religious places, be they schools, child-care centres or what have you.”

  • Thank you Bruce Knowles, I was searching for those verses myself. What happened to the laws against perjury? If accusers knew that they could not make false accusations and simply walk away when these are proved to be unfounded, without suffering the same punishment with interest that their victim would have suffered, they might think carefully. There should be a cost from breaking the ninth commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”. And as Paul Wilson say so many male teachers have had their careers and lives destroyed by mischievous girls making false allegations. Children are taught to commit perjury in schools, especially since corporal punishment was banned.
    David Skinner UK

  • Sorry Bill, I missed that. It’s a great article.

  • David Skinner I think the problem with finding a person guilty of perjury merely because their allegation failed in court is that no one could ever bring an allegation in court just in case they lost. Perjury, as with breaching the 9th commandment requires intent and knowledge – ie, it would then need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the complainant knew the allegation was false and intended to commit an act of extreme justice against the accused who in this case would become the victim. Now we don’t know the reason why the accused made these allegations nor his inner motivations and intentions – he may have been straight out lying, he may have been delusional, he may have been pressured into making a false accusation, or the claim could have been truthful but there was insufficient evidence to find the accused guilty leaving the accused acquitted and then presumed innocent.
    Hence, I think it’s entirely unwise to punish someone for merely bringing a complaint and testing it in court. However, if it can be shown the complainant was deliberately and knowingly lying then they should be tried for perverting the course of justice and where applicable, perjury – as has occurred with many cases similar to George Pell’s in the US and the UK.
    If found guilty, the case laws of the book of Exodus would required that the recommended
    sentence of the accused should be placed on the false complainant – which I think is a morally appropriate judgment.

  • Meanwhile, this video of Professor Greg Craven metaphorically crushing a shrill ABC reporter (clearly out of her depth) and the management of Aunty ought to be shared far and wide – certainly before YouTube pulls it down: https://youtu.be/7x29VznAZOE

  • Thanks Joel. Yes it was great to see someone stand up to the ABC bullies. Needs to happen much more often.

  • I am a Christian, but no Catholic.

    This saga raises absolutely huge questions about the Australian legal system, particularly as it exists in Victoria now!

    It seems that the 7 judges of the High Court essentially agree with Justice Weinberg of the Victorian Supreme Court; when he dissented with the Supreme Court’s other two judges’ decision to reject Cardinal Pell’s first appeal.

    The single accuser’s evidence; when balanced against the evidence of numerous others who gave evidence that the abuse could not have happened as described; simply was never enough for a jury to have been able to have confidence “beyond reasonable doubt” that the crime ever even happened!!

    In the circumstances, Cardinal Pell is entitled to be proclaimed innocent! Under our legal system an accused person is presumed innocent until “proven guilty”!

    God help us all if that requirement to “prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt” is ever taken away!!

    The court process must never be allowed to become a popularity contest or “witch hunt”, otherwise we will have the equivalent of legalised lynch mobs!

  • Bruce that is nice of him but he should at least insist on an independent investigation of the matter for the sake of the public to hopefully prevent this from being done to someone else. Bias generally depends on secrecy to get away with things daylight is a great disinfectant.

  • Thank you Joel van der Horst for that link to Greg Craven.

    Surely people must be starting to wake up when the ABC and SBS are able to so effectively influence the police, the judiciary and politicians, i.e. all three arms of Western democratic society. It is imperative that we put an end to their relentless propaganda. Our public broadcaster’s unending promotion of the Green’s policies, the whole Green’s policies and nothing but the Green’s policies is, of course, in complete opposition to the promotion of the truth and democracy. Have people so quickly forgotten the effect of relentless propaganda under the Nazis?

    Clearly there is a culture within the public broadcaster’s bureaucracies that make them believe that this sort of bias is acceptable and so this propagandist machinery is simply not going to be addressed until there are wholesale changes to these blatantly and obviously corrupt organizations.

  • David I found out all about mischievous girls making false allegations when I was a boy in 5th grade (I had undiagnosed atypical autism and my only friend for the prior 3 years had been 3 years younger so I was a bit naive) to this day I have trouble trusting girls. Girls just think it’s funny but people are hurt lives are ruined.

  • Thanks for your excellent article. The Catholic church is devine because it is Christ’s church. However like all churches it is run by humans. All humans are not devine but sinners. But our merciful Lord always forgives us if we repent.

  • Bishop Coleridge, President of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference said many would be devastated by the decision of the High Court. Who would be devastated by a decision that released an innocent man from prison? Bishop Coleridge likes to have a foot in both boats. The man is a fool.

  • Justice has (finally) been done. While I am not a Roman Catholic, I was profoundly disturbed when George Pell was found guilty on the most flimsy of charges. That ruling made a complete mockery of the “innocent until proven guilty” imperative. For some time I have been dumbfounded by the similarity between this case and that of Lindy Chamberlain, back in 1980. In both cases, the initial findings were ‘guilty as charged’, and both Lindy and Pell were sentenced to a substantial term of imprisonment. In Lindy’s case, it wasn’t until her baby’s matinee jacket was found, and shown to have been mauled by a dingo, that there was a retrial and eventual release from prison.

    And this time, George Pell had to appeal to the High Court to be completely exonerated from any guilt. In both cases, there was extremely bitter condemnation by many, regardless of the facts. And, sadly, bias and prejudice played a major role. The lesson is clear: We must never allow our personal opinions to take over from established facts. Without access to the Law, we are at the mercy of our own, frail opinions and biases. It took the High Court to recognize the ungarnished truth in this case. And now, hopefully, the rumours, gossip and innuendo will cease.

  • Add to that Ann that in the past at least 50 year we have basically had trial by media. from the moment of your arrest on your are in the crosshairs of the media they take of the case like you are guilty and is it any wonder people who don’t sit on the juries see people as guilty?? plus what used to be a local story can often become a national story so even when found not guilty and you move away likely people where you move too heard of the case and formed a opinion about you. (also who they can make a few isolated cases of say kidnapping seem like a nationwide epidemic because every station is talking about the case) and in the age of 24 hr news you sometimes get so bombarded with the story you can’t help but start feeling a certain way based solely on what you are being presented. remember the media cares about ratings and sensationalism sells. hysteria and fear sell too. truth and reporting, for the most part, parted ways a while back. While no-one is completely objective journalist used to try harder to be objective and to fight their own biases. now everything has to fit an agenda or belief and if it doesn’t it isn’t newsworthy or has to be skewed till it is (like editing tapes or soundbites to make a person say something they didn’t say). another big problem is as I like to tell people law and morality parted ways a long time ago and law has never looked back.

  • Geoff Bullock: Juries were a great idea at the time for injecting some man-on-the-street common sense into the system so the men-in-wigs can’t make whatever rulings they like. But to make a jury work today, we need to ensure no member of a jury has any exposure to media. Oh wait…

  • When Cardinal Pell stood up to the (aggressive and vindictive) rainbow brigade at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a wise man said that Pell will pay. I’m sure you could find a picture of Chief Commissioner of Vic Pol with the brigade dressed up as nuns in the archives.

  • What can we do about the ABC? Remember some thoughtful people pointing out irregularities, only to have a hasty media lecture them on not knowing the full detail of the case, because they were not in the court room? Now wise people who had good reason to suspect anomalies have proven a superior understanding than an ABC bent on revenge. A revenge quite possibly because the then Bishop Pell stood up to rainbow sash activists back around 2001. Unpleasant activists using the church to lever their agenda, as Ron Rumble correctly referred to in a prior comment. But it is us funding this vindictive organisation, who is able to clean up this ungodly mess?

  • Bill, not sure if you remember May 2002 and George Pell refused communion to openly gay attenders at St Mary’s Cathedral. They have been after him ever since in my opinion.
    Part of SMH article of the day: “The Catholic Archbishop, the Most Rev George Pell, yesterday refused Holy Communion to openly gay and lesbian parishioners, coupling his first Sydney confrontation over the issue with an attack on homosexuality.
    Quoting the new conservative mantra of the church, Dr Pell told the congregation at St Mary’s Cathedral: “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve and important consequences follow from this.” Rainbow sash activists in particular sought to push their agenda and ABC in the vanguard of this ongoing persecution.

  • Yes Mark the secular left have been out to get him for years now.

  • Many thanks to Bill, again, for exposing deformities of our ailing Civil Society, and for pointing the way for reform and greater happiness.[Incidentally, for the record : Regarding above, the then-Archbishop Pell’s refusing of communion : this refusal was for a ‘rainbow sash’ wearing, homosexualist agitator contingent which was attempting to use the cathedral’s Sunday mass and its communion distribution as their chosen theatre for their political campaign in deliberate defiance of Church teaching.]

  • This shows once again that the ABC must be sold off. Its just a corrupt left propaganda machine. And with the damage the economy will be in because of the reaction to the coronavirus there is no way it can be allowed to publicly funded anymore!

  • This case from the get go had holes in it bug enough to fit a truck through. There was a collaborating effort by media, the institutions, Victorian Police and co to get their man. 26 other implausible charges against Pell were hurled out. The High Court decision was a damning finding on the orchestrated mishandling by the institutions and the utter witchhunt of a man and incompetence of the system in this case. Not ONE single journalist at the ABC even raised doubts or looked at it from an unbiased angle. The book CARDINAL even received a literacy prize when it is full of libel, full of holes and implausible. All the allegations in that book the DPP turfed.

  • @Jeremy. Totally agree. It has no purpose as it is only supported by one side of politics. It ceased being OUR ABC many years ago. It is a left echo-chamber full of hatchet jobs and raw emotional nonsense which distorts and manipulates. It is very Anglo-Australian identity and is extremely unbalanced. Increasingly the ABC is hardening its left position on every single social and cultural issue. Albanese yesterday asked for more funding for the ABC even after their outrageous campaign against Pell and all things Catholic.

  • Bill, from memory the Pell trial was even worse than Stephen (7th post down) mentions. He stated that 2 or more witnesses are needed for a conviction under Australian or ancient Jewish law. In the first trial there was 1 witness for the prosecution, and the jury hung. In the 2nd trial however that witness did not appear, a recording of his original testimony was replayed instead, and they voted guilty. Does a recording count as witnesses testimony if said witness doesn’t appear before the jury and can’t be questioned by the defence? My understanding is the defence had all the witnesses, the prosecution instead relied on experts and their alleged victim’s recorded testimony.

    While not a fan of the Roman Catholic Church, and uncertain on the truth of what actually happened, based on the evidence I have read I too am rather pleased to see Cardinal Pell declared not guilty. That the ABC is “spitting chips” now just adds icing to the cake. 🙂

  • See also Gerard Henderson’s comments on the Pell decision.

  • Andrew Mason, part of the problem is that sexual abuse cases rarely involve more than the perpetrator and the victim. Thus, in the absence of any extra witnesses, the law was changed to provide for the victim’s testimony to be admissible without corroboration.

    That means the defence needs to be able to present strong contrary evidence to refute any false assertions by the prosecution. In the Pell case, the deceased other alleged victim’s admission that no abuse took place was not admissible because it was made only to his mother, and that put it into the category of hearsay.

    However, as Andrew Bolt showed in his TV broadcast on Sky, there were two powerful refutations which the defence made, in order to demonstrate that the alleged crime was not possible. Unfortunately, the second jury did not draw the correct conclusion that this represented a strong reasonable doubt regarding the charges.

    This case illustrates the danger of the “we believe you” mantra as shown by the silly (or dangerous) tweet by the Premier, Daniel Andrews. “We believe you” needs to be qualified by “unless your evidence is shown to be mistaken or worse.”

  • John we believe you reminds me of the satanic daycare scandals in the 80’s and the moral panic that ensued. The mantra was children don’t lie. Many men had their lives ruined based on lies by over zealous prosecutors, hysterical and possibly guilt ridden mothers who had just entered the workforce, cops who didn’t know how too properly question children (they are highly suggestible and also wish to please adult and thus can be coaxed into saying things that aren’t true), and even church leaders eager for the spotlight.

    I realize that a lot of abuse cases don’t have witnesses but that is why evidence is needed. Yes child molestation is disgusting and awful and PURE EVIL but we must be sure so as not to destroy the innocent. Facts and logic seem cold BUT the are the best way of getting to the truth. Emotions short circuit logic and then the quest for justice into a quest for vengeance even if no crime has occurred. Lynch mob or frontier justice is no justice at all.

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