Pell quarantine thread

The High Court will bring down its judgement on George Pell’s appeal against his conviction on child sex abuse offences. Since this may generate vigorous discussion of at most tangential relevance to this blog’s core subject, I ask that those wishing to argue the toss do so here.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

191 comments on “Pell quarantine thread”

  1. i watched a rerun of Four Corners ;ast night, the Sarah Ferguson interviews one of the pedo Brothers. How Sarah did that without a fault is beyond me.

  2. It’s worth remembering that the High Court decision today, whatever it is, will not be a judgement on Pell, but rather set important legal precedent in regard to historic sex trials, especially where there were no other witnesses than the complainant.

  3. “Danama Paperssays:
    Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 4:35 am
    Good idea to separate this topic from the main discussion thread.”

    Oh no it isn’t.

    Actually it is, but I thought we should start the disagreement here early.

  4. The unanimous decision of the High Court to quash Pell’s convictions has to be respected, even by the many who would be very upset by it. The redacted portion of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse should now be released by A-G Porter, from which civil suites will no doubt flow.

  5. Bucephalus:
    [‘Good. The alleged assault was unbelievable and there was no possible way that there wasn’t reasonable doubt.’]

    It would be prudent to await the delivery of the judgment.

  6. Oakeshott Country says:
    Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 10:04 am
    Innocent!

    _______________________________________

    Umm no. Just not guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    There is real significance, though, for other historic sex crime trials. The High Court’s decision does not mean that he was exonerated or even not guilty on the balance of probabilities. We will soon see if there are civil actions, which have a difference and lighter onus of proof.

  7. Mavis

    I’ve already read the initial Statement released by the High Court (which clearly states it isn’t the judgement but says exactly what I said).

  8. So fresh of its victorious declaration that cheating is ok in the Australian electoral system, the High Court now evidences the two very distinct justice systems in Australia. If you are poor no matter how hard you try you will never be able to prove you are innocent (see robodebt) and if you are rich you are always going to get of on a technicality. No matter what you’ve done the bar to conviction will protect you.

    Now I’ve not read the judgement which may or may not be right that the Victorian courts and all those QC’s were just to stupid to execute a fair trial even in secret, but the optics are terrible. It is another flashing red light our society is broken.

  9. Bucephalus @ #9 Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 – 10:09 am

    Good. The alleged assault was unbelievable and there was no possible way that there wasn’t reasonable doubt.

    Putting my animosity to Pell aside as best I could, I always thought the unbelievability of it was its strongest point, in that if it were a fabrication, then it would be reasonable to assume it would have been a better constructed and designed confection.

  10. High Court judgment page shuts down.

    High Court judgments are hardly ever delivered in front of the parties and their lawyers.

    Most of the time, someone has to go up to the Registry and ask for an envelope with the judgment in it.

  11. TPOF,

    If you are acquitted then you are not guilty.
    I can’t see how he could be found guilty on the balance of probabilities.

  12. Golden

    It was a unanimous decision by the Full Bench of 7 Judges.

    Your final sentence is a disgrace and William should delete it.

  13. It is tempting to think that the case may stand for an important principle but it may just involve a correction of what now appears to be an obvious error on the part of the Court of Appeal in dealing with the matter.

  14. WeWantPaul:

    [‘The unanimous decision of the High Court to quash Pell’s convictions has to be respected
    No it doesn’t.’]

    Your choice, pal.

  15. Bucephalus says:
    Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 10:23 am
    TPOF,

    If you are acquitted then you are not guilty.
    I can’t see how he could be found guilty on the balance of probabilities.

    ____________________________________________

    Then you need to learn something about civil law cases.

  16. A conga line of civil actions will now commence. I have two questions:

    1. Can those pursuing civil actions gain discovery?
    2. Is evidence brought forward in civil actions made public?

  17. Your choice, pal.

    Thinking critically is a choice we should all make pal. A little something I picked up in law school you clown. But sure stick with a ‘worship and respect mindlessly’ cult mindset it really works for you. You seem real nice.

  18. We Want Paul

    Having been to Law School you think that the 7 Judges of the High Court and the Preeminent Criminal Jurist in the dissenting opinion in the Federal Court do not think critically?

  19. So it’s official: Child sexual abuse is legal if conducted by someone with access to unlimited funds.

    Yeah but it goes further than just that crime, it is a broad wealth immunity.

    When I did crim law and learned the ‘better to let 99 guilty pedophiles go free than to jail the one priest who didn’t f*ck the choir boys and destroy their lives’ I thought it was a principal that applied broadly to all in society.

    That it only applies to the rich and powerful is very depressing.

  20. When I was much younger in the early 80’s I had some acquaintances who were street kids in Kings Cross in Sydney. They told me about a club called Costello’s where underage boys were rented out to the wealth and elite. It seems a lot of the clients that frequented Costello’s were State and Federal politicians and members of the judiciary.
    As a parent I had one of my kids assaulted, thankfully he didn’t get away with much before being caught and charged. During the FIRST trial the judge in Queensland stated that the offence was of “small moment” and passed a suspended 18 month sentence. An appeal subsequently changed this to 4 years custodial with no parole period.
    Both these events have led me to believe the Judiciary are just as involved in the “game” as those that have openly supported Pell.

  21. WeWantPaul:

    [‘A little something I picked up in law school you clown.’]

    I’m no fan of Pell. I think he’s an evil man. But I do believe in our system of justice, something that I picked up in law school. It’s a shame you didn’t…

  22. BW

    1. Can those pursuing civil actions gain discovery?
    2. Is evidence brought forward in civil actions made public?

    1. In a way – it has to be targeted;
    2. Depends on jurisdiction but once a document becomes part of the Court record, it is generally publicly available. This is normally when the document is tendered.

  23. Reposting from the main thread

    Holdenhillbilly posts

    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.

    This is where I come unstuck. To me, if the complainant’s evidence is thoroughly credible and reliable, then there is no room for reasonable doubt on the basis that certain rituals and practices usually or normally happened. It could have happened (in my mind) because of a window of opportunity that a lapse in regular procedure afforded.

    Unusual things don’t happen when the usual procedures are held. They happen outside those circumstances.

  24. shellbell

    Thank you. I assume that some of the civil actions will be against Pell and the Church as co-respondents.

    Would Church records held in the Vatican (many, if not most, already destroyed) be accessible through discovery?

    I would be particularly interested whether the reports back from various visiting Papal Nuncios would be accessible. Alternatively, might these have diplomatic protection?

  25. There is a lot to be said for dispensing with jury trials.

    They are the one part of our legal system that exercises common sense consistently, of course they should go, it is amazing they’ve lasted this long.

  26. Did an innocent man just spend a year in jail, or has a guilty man avoided many years of prison?
    I don’t know but either way it doesn’t do much for my faith in the legal system.

  27. But I do believe in our system of justice, something that I picked up in law school. It’s a shame you didn’t…

    I believed in our system of justice before I got into law school. I had learned it wasn’t a system of justice at all but a legal system before I left law school. I remember in my last year probably after a civil procedure lecture being in a coffee shop with a mate and we said the thing out loud. There just isn’t a lot of justice in the legal system. It has got consistently worse in the decades since.

    But bottom line both bad legal decisions, and legal decisions that are technically correct but have terrible community implications should be critically assessed and condemned, not mindlessly worshiped and accepted like we live in a dictatorship. That is a year or two away.

  28. ItzaDream

    Witnesses can be absolutely believable but still wrong – anyone who has had anything to do with witnesses or witness statements will have learnt that very quickly. You can have three people see exactly the same traffic accident and get three completely different stories.

    The fact that the allegations almost perfectly mirrored the 1998 case from Philadelphia which was reported in Rolling Stone Magazine in 2011 should have raised red flags. There is also no evidence of grooming behaviour.

    I believe that this was a malicious allegation by someone who quite possibly was assaulted by a Catholic Priest but wanted to get the ultimate scalp of Pell because of the campaign against him.

  29. I’ve just had two notifications:

    1. That I’m now on the roll for jury duty

    2. That AHPRA (Australian Hospital Prudential Regulation Authority) has re enrolled me (after retirement) in readiness to become a COVID-19 foot soldier. Which raises the spectre of Medical Defence insurance amongst other things.

    But 2. is almost worth it to escape 1.

  30. Did an innocent man just spend a year in jail, or has a guilty man avoided many years of prison?
    I don’t know but either way it doesn’t do much for my faith in the legal system.

    Technically correct or not, it is a terrible decision at a time when trust in the institutions of our democracy are deservedly at all time lows. A bit like the terrible recent ‘it is fine to cheat at elections in our almost democracy’ decision, probably good technical law, but batshit crazy bad if you take your head out of your arse for three seconds, something the elite of the elite of the self selecting elite that is our legal fraternity hire other people to do for them.

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