Cardinal Pell Appeal: Will Prosecutor’s Retraction Make Any Difference?

From the Anglican blog, Quadrant Online

Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction of historical sexual abuse of two choirboys will be heard before the full High Court of Australia on March 11. Pell’s conviction in a Melbourne county court in December 2018 was affirmed by the Victorian Court of Appeal in August 2019. The conviction was for two incidents of abuse that allegedly occurred in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, in December 1996 and February 1997.

As several writers in Quadrant have recorded over the past twelve months, the conviction of Pell is one of the worst miscarriages of justice in Australian history. This is not just because of his status at the time as the most senior figure in the Catholic Church in this country, but also because it breached the fundamental legal principle that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That is not how George Pell was treated either at his trial or in his first appeal. The jurors did not make their decision on the weight of evidence by more than twenty witnesses, who demonstrated that Pell could not possibly have done what the complainant said. Instead, the jurors accepted the sole evidence of the accuser, given in camera, with his identity shielded, and without corroboration of any kind. A two-to-one majority of judges in the Victorian Court of Appeal confirmed both the process and the decision… 

[After detailing the Prosecutor’s  –  Gibson’s –  retraction, the Quadrant Online report continues…]

Now, Gibson must be a Crown prosecutor with a short memory. He seems to have forgotten all about this retraction. Because on January 31, 2020, the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, submitted a response to the appeal to the High Court by Pell’s lawyers, Bret Walker and Ruth Shann. One of the four signatories to the DPP submission was Mark Gibson, signing himself as Victoria’s Senior Crown Prosecutor. In paragraphs 59 and 60 of this submission there is a version of what the altar servers supposedly did after they entered the priests’ sacristy. It is written as if the rebuke from the defence at the trial never happened, as if Judge Kidd had not told Gibson to retract what he said, and as if his retraction had never been made to the jury.  End of extractsTo read entire report click here

Comment…

The above article arrived in my inbox yesterday, courtesy of a reader of this blog, named Patrick.  He wrote: 

Dear Editor,

I have contacted you previously regarding the ‘kangeroo court’ verdict on Cardinal George Pell. Hopefully you will find time in your busy schedule to have a read of the [above] article. As far as I am concerned, the so called Catholic media should be shouting this from the rooftops.

It is sad that only two prominent commentators (and none outside Australia) are highlighting this satanic injustice perpetrated against a Prince of our faith.  As far as I know neither of them are Catholic which should make us hang our heads in shame  End of email.


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Why is it, that journalists who purport to be keen to report injustices, miss something this  big?  I wonder what possible reason might explain their failure to cover something as serious as a Public Prosecutor admitting to false evidence while going on, later, to repeat it?  This is what I look like when I’m “wondering”…

As for the legal profession – least said, soonest mended…

 

State Vs Parents – Scots Father Fights To Protect Family Against Authorities In Scotland AND Ireland…

Update: 19th January, 2016

Following a request from one blogger, Catherine, today’s date, I have decided not to close this thread today after all, but will leave it open, with the rest, until the end of the month as usual.  This allows maximum time for Mr Docherty to respond to the questions raised in the thread.

Update: 17th January, 2016

Please scroll to end of this thread to read the deadline which we have set.  Unless we receive some convincing answers, from Mr Docherty, to the questions raised on this thread, by Tuesday, close of business, this thread will be deleted. Brian DochertyCROPPED

Original Article…

Brian Docherty is a Glaswegian, a teacher, who moved to live and work in Aberdeen.

In summary, Mr Docherty claims that a neighbour asked for “access” to his disabled son, and made clear what he meant by “access”:  this was an approach by a paedophile, alleged Mr Docherty who reported the matter to the police.  According to Mr Docherty, however, instead of investigating the allegation, his family were targeted. You can see Brian’s first video account of what he claims happened here 

Eventually, the family travelled to Ireland to spend time there, in the hope of receiving support from the Irish authorities. Instead, the children have been taken into care and questions raised over the mental health of Mr Docherty and his wife.

Videos explaining his situation are available on YouTube and the most recent video is to be found at the foot of the page of the petition which you can sign here.

We are all aware of the way the family unit is being undermined by legislation (the Named Person Scheme springs to mind) and through unnecessary interference by officious social workers etc.  If, therefore, Mr Docherty’s claims have substance, this case gives grave cause for concern. Apparently, Mr Docherty has made efforts to publicise his situation but the mainstream media is not, it seems, interested. This, in itself, seems strange, and triggered our decision to give some publicity to Mr Docherty’s apparent plight here.  If, after all, there is no truth in his allegations, that surely ought to be exposed to protect the integrity of the police and other State agencies and individuals.

For fear of unnecessarily complicating his situation, however, by claims of police corruption, we might discuss whether or not it would be wiser for Brian Docherty to concentrate on getting his children back because they have been taken from him by agents of the State despite the fact that neither he nor his wife have been charged with any crime and – as seems clear from his calm demeanour on the videos – there is nothing wrong with his mental state.  He must be beside himself with worry over his children’s plight, living, to the best of our knowledge,  with strangers in separate foster homes, yet he comes across as an intelligent man, a calm but concerned father – there is nothing of hysteria in his statements.  

As well as keeping this family in our prayers, then, is there any advice we can offer to Mr Docherty?  Should he drop his allegations in order to retrieve his children and let those responsible deal with their consciences, or is he right to continue to expose the alleged corruption of the legal systems in both Scotland and  Ireland?