Pell conviction quashed

I am very aware of the issue of clerical abuse. The amount of damage that has been done is significant. Predators go where the prey is — which is the damaged, the young and the simple. The Church does care for such, and it should, but that means there will be predators trying to join the church. And the enemies of the church will tar all clergy — calling all abusers. I’m aware that one of the reasons men don’t go into teaching (or the clergy) is the stigma now associated with both professions.

But Pell was an injustice.

The charges against Pell are easy claims to make about a Catholic priest. There’s almost nothing the public won’t believe about Catholics, and our priests in particular. But as anyone who has met Pell could tell you, the things he’s accused of are astonishingly unlikely. And that’s before we get to the details of the case.

Pell was convicted of the sexual abuse of children in a cathedral sacristy after Mass in the 1990s. Ever been to Mass in a major church? It’s pandemonium backstage. There’s just no way any archbishop, as Pell then was, would get a moment alone in a sacristy at that time. It’s a mob scene. There are no private rooms. It’s just not plausible to liken Pell to a remote parish priest taking advantage of a lonely kid in a quiet village church.

Pell’s defence sought to prove that it was physically impossible for him to have committed the crimes of which he was convicted. For one thing, since the 15th century bishops have never been left unattended while robed, and Pell’s archbishop regalia would, it is argued, have physically prevented him from committing the acts of which he is accused.

Pell stood trial twice. At the first trial, the jury could not agree on the verdict. At the second trial there was a unanimous verdict in favour of conviction. That happens, of course, as different juries reach different conclusions on the evidence. But one can’t help but wonder if the prosecution’s only real case against Pell was guilt by association, or destruction of reputation. That might have worked. Let’s face it, juries don’t need much persuasion that Catholic priests are no good. And George Pell in particular has been smothered in fake allegations – something I know all too well after I was wrongly accused of being pro-child abuse myself in February 2017.

Too conservative, too effective and too popular? Prepare to be accused of the most heinous crimes. The problem is, if you throw enough dirt, some of it will eventually stick.

It’s worth noting that Milo, who wrote the above, had been abused himself by a parish priest. He’s aware such things happen. But the conviction was flawed. Today it was quashed. From the Guardian.

George Pell’s conviction of child sexual abuse has been quashed. His term of imprisonment is ended. He has been acquitted.

“Today, the High Court granted special leave to appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria and unanimously allowed the appeal.

“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 Court held that, on the assumption that the jury had assessed the complainant’s evidence as thoroughly credible and reliable, the evidence of the opportunity witnesses nonetheless required the jury, acting rationally, to have entertained a reasonable doubt as to the applicant’s guilt in relation to the offences involved in both alleged incidents. With respect to each of the applicant’s convictions, there was, consistently with the words the Court used in Chidiac v The Queen (1991) 171 CLR 432 at 444 and M v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 487 at 494, “a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”.

The Aussie woke cannot distinguish between one injustice and the pain of being a victim. Again, from the Guardian.

Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of the Blue Knot Foundation, said for many survivors the decision would be “crushing, as the immense courage it takes to stand up and be seen and heard is enormous”.

She says:

“To have to prove that you were abused and betrayed can be more than overwhelming given the profound impacts of trauma.

“The child sexual abuse pandemic within the Catholic Church has threatened the safety of millions of children, the adults they become and the very moral fibre of what it means to be human. Pell now has his freedom, but many abuse victims have never been free – trapped in the horror of the crimes which decimated their lives.”

Cardinal Pell has given a statement, which does make that distinction.

There are victims, and there is pain. But one injustice does not heal that. This is not Admiral Bing — you cannot damn, retrial and convict pour encourager les autres.

“I hold no ill will toward my accuser, I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel; there is certainly hurt and bitterness enough,” said the cardinal in a statement.

“However my trial was not a referendum on the Catholic Church; nor a referendum on how Church authorities in Australia dealt with the crime of paedophilia in the Church.

“The point was whether I had committed these awful crimes, and I did not.”

The only basis for long term healing is truth and the only basis for justice is truth, because justice means truth for all.

A special thanks for all the prayers and thousands of letters of support.

I want to thank in particular my family for their love and support and what they had to go through; my small team of advisors; those who spoke up for me and suffered as a result; and all my friends and supporters here and overseas.

Also my deepest thanks and gratitude to my entire legal team for their unwavering resolve to see justice prevail, to throw light on manufactured obscurity and to reveal the truth.

Finally, I am aware of the current health crisis. I am praying for all those affected and our medical frontline personnel.

But in Victoria, there is no forgiveness. From the ABC.

The decision by the High Court brings an end to a five-year legal saga, that saw the former advisor to the Pope become the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted of child sexual abuse.

Regardless of the decision, a number of civil cases are due to be launched against Cardinal Pell, either by people who alleged they were abused by him or who allege he did nothing to prevent their abuse at the hands of other priests.

If Pell is wise, he will retire to a monastery as a means of self defense. More will follow.

UPDATE.

From the Cat:

Obviously not guilty from the start. And as sinister as the entire episode has been, possibly the most sinister part is that one’s political beliefs are an almost perfect dye marker for how one receives the decision. For the left, it is symbolism alone that matters. On the right, it is that justice has finally been done. The left will attack you for your class membership in whatever way they wish to define you. There are no individual rights nor individual responsibility. This is the way of the left who are totalitarian through and through.

The left are a gang of ideological thugs who roam in packs. To the left, paedophilia is wrong, George Pell was accused of paedophilia, George Pell is a Catholic archbishop, therefore George Pell was guilty, irrespective of the virtual impossibility of his being actually guilty of the crime. It is the justice of the accusation, the Lubyanka, the show trial and bullet to the head. Not quite there yet, but they have effectively ruined Pell’s career, and have provided an exemplary lesson for anyone who falls outside the permitted norms as laid down by the left.

If this has been a learning experience, it is a learning experience for us.

And from Adam, who defended him from the beginning. Andrews is the premier who legalized euthanasia, against the opposition of the Churhc (not merely the Roman churhc) and anyone who stops his Stalinist narrative must be shunned.

I recall Beria: he would find a crime for any man, for AntiSoviet Agitation was on the books. Note well that Tony Abbott stood by the railroaded Penn, and Andrews hit him with 30 minutes of hate.

As I said a year ago, detectives had their man; all they had to then do was to find the crime. Now it’s officially accurate from their own mouths. This is how totalitarian regimes operate. Our system of law is based upon prosecuting a crime when it is committed, not going after an individual in order to find out if a crime might exist. With the number of laws and statutes on the books, we would all be guilty of something if they chose to look. Also worth noting is the fact that at the time of the original trial the Victorian courts placed a gag order on Australian media to not report on the case under threat of prosecution, a direction without prior precedent that to the media’s collective but sadly non-existent shame they all obeyed to the letter.

So many people were willing to believe the charges against Pell because of the institution which he represents, not the man himself. He was guilty by association and personal success. He had to be brought down so the continual attack against the Catholic Church could be stepped up a gear. Now that their prosecution is in tatters, Pell’s accusers and enemies will not admit to any wrongdoing. They will seek convenient scapegoats to hang the blame and then proceed unabated to the next target, if indeed they decide to back off and leave Pell alone.

This trial and its aftermath are an abject lesson that the stability of our system rests on facts, logic and evidence, and not on the nebulous and ever changing nightmare world of feelings. It is easy for a miserable piece of shit like Andrews to publicly proclaim his humanitarian purity with his erstwhile Tweet endorsing his belief of all victims everywhere. Come forward all you victims, all of those with a grudge to bare, and point the finger at those whom which we can eagerly pursue in the cause of righteous feelings that advance our ideological cause while crushing our enemies. After all, just who would ever stoop to defend someone convicted by a jury of their peers of the most awful crime of child abuse?

Well, there were a few of us who did. At moments like this it sure does feel good to stick your neck out on the line.