Familiar Little Stabs

Two things were predictable following yesterday’s decision by the High Court to grant Cardinal George Pell leave to to appeal his conviction in Victoria on fanciful charges of child rape. First, that Louise Milligan – den mother to the nation’s anti-Pell monomaniacs – would address her followers:

“Whatever happens today, I hope it’s treated with solemnity it deserves. I hope kindness is shown by those who should know better to those who need it. Many will hold their breath before 9.30, feeling familiar little stabs. Those who understand that pain are thinking of you.”

Let’s hope they’re not still holding their breath. But who are these “many”? There is, after all, only one “victim.” If Milligan is referring to all victims of sexual abuse as a class she is disregarding Justice Peter Kidd’s very strict admonition at sentencing. The Cardinal was not convicted as a generalised scapegoat for the crimes of anyone else. To have done so, said Justice Kidd, or even for “other victims of clerical or institutional sexual abuse who may be present in court today or watching or listening elsewhere” to see Pell’s conviction thus – would be “contrary to the rule of law” and “not be justice at all.”

The transmogrification of the Cardinal is the second predictable thing. Advocacy groups, real victims of other clerics and generic anti-Catholic dullards insist that his lawful pursuit of acquittal on appeal amounts to secondary molestation. That’s the unctuous pretext anyway. The actual motivation for the claimed nexus between Pell defending himself and victims being traumatised has very little to do with concern for abuse survivors. It mostly has to do with a deep-seated anxiety in Pell haters that he might eventually come out on top. If all of the perversions of justice that led to his solitary confinement are overturned, the perverters will be at risk of opprobrium, sanctions and – most dreaded of all – political humiliation. Questions would be asked, people would be sued, reputations would be damaged, money would be lost and books would be pulped. Never before in Australian history have so many powerful people been so heavily invested in a miscarriage of justice. Wilfully miscast as a humbled heavyweight, big man Pell is in fact the little guy in this story.


Postscript: The father of the deceased former choirboy (who denied he was ever abused by Pell) has issued via Shine Lawyers to news.com a thoroughly strange letter to the Pope advocating, inter alia, married and women priests. He apparently had no idea where his teenage son was at any given time (or that he was a heroin user) but he’s watched enough television to know what’s wrong with Catholicism. He is suing Pell and the Church for damages. He doesn’t want much from this. Just an ecumenical council and a payday. His lawyer also issued a press release yesterday stating that her client is “gutted” by the High Court granting Pell leave to appeal. That’s because there won’t be much chance of a damages claim succeeding if he is acquitted.

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49 Responses to Familiar Little Stabs

  1. Iain Russell

    Superb use of ‘unctuous’!

  2. Tom

    Never before in Australian history have so many powerful people been so heavily invested in a miscarriage of justice.

    Damn straight, CL.

  3. candy

    The Cardinal was not convicted as a generalised scapegoat for the crimes of anyone else.

    But he was and Justice Kidd knows it and the High Court judges will be under immense pressure to follow suit. The wall of hate against Pell and Catholics is strong and a lot of the public expect him to die in jail, to take the rap for all p….. priests. A kind of weird social phenomenon going on in Australia.

    Ms Milligan will be counting on that. She really, really hates Catholics.

  4. Roger

    Every man should be concerned if the evidence used to convict Pell is the new standard.

  5. Bosnich

    Roger .. a big tick for that.

  6. stackja

    Northern Territory administration was supposedly worried the Lindy case would hinder tourism.

  7. Roger

    Advocacy groups, real victims of other clerics and generic anti-Catholic dullards insist that his lawful pursuit of acquittal on appeal amounts to secondary molestation.

    If anyone is saying that they have teetered into hysteria and are not helping anyone.

    News of Pell’s appeal could indeed trigger symptoms in those who have PTSD as a result of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy. The solution is not to deny a man his legal right but to provide effective treatment to the victims. Rather than shileding victims from triggering events – which is clearly not going to be possible if they are to assume their place in the world, which they should aspire to do – the most effective treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy, one facet of which is exposure to the source of the stress, resulting in eventual desensitisation.

  8. Tel

    The Cardinal was not convicted as a generalised scapegoat for the crimes of anyone else. To have done so, said Justice Kidd, or even for “other victims of clerical or institutional sexual abuse who may be present in court today or watching or listening elsewhere” to see Pell’s conviction thus – would be “contrary to the rule of law” and “not be justice at all.”

    Justice of a kind … but not the kind that sees people as capable of individual decision making.

    It would be collective justice, a.k.a. social justice, a.k.a. socialist justice.

  9. Up The Workers!

    Everybody knows that the “Carl Beeched” case against Cardinal Pell was only auditioned, rehearsed and brought against him as a “Ooh…Look over there!” distraction from the fact that the political Party of Milton ‘The Molester’ Orkopoulos, Keith Wright, Bill D’Arcy, Terry Martin, Bob Collins and many others, was at that time trying to get one of their very senior Federal Parliamentary members who stood accused of far worse sexual crimes, elected as Prime Minister.

    Dodgy Dan even had to change the law in Mogadishu-by-the-Yarra, to achieve Pell’s “Carl Beeching”.

  10. Andre Lewis

    Notable that most media reporting of the whole Pell saga has consistently referred to the accuser as a victim, even before the trial. If the court overturns the guilty verdict then effectively there is no victim because there was no crime or proof of one. Surely then the unidentified accuser then loses the victim label. As he was the only one who testified on the alleged crime if evidence confirms it did not/could happen is perjury an issue?

  11. Juan

    … following yesterday’s decision by the High Court to grant Cardinal George Pell leave to to appeal his conviction in Victoria …

    CORRECTION: The High Court has not granted George Pell special leave to appeal his conviction. Rather, the Application [was] referred to a Full Court.

  12. Mundi

    If you have followed the case, read the transcripts, read the appeals, you would know that there is no hope for Pell. E don’t have a system off logic and reason that decides justice. We have some form off bizarre story based system where the more generally publicly acceptable your story is, the more nonsense is dragged up in court about it. Until the common person is just bamboozled. They are guilty because if bly the whole thing would be a huge circus.

  13. Old Lefty

    If Ms Milligan and her media allies find the wait unbearable, they can distract themselves by investigating the thousands of abuse cases in the files of state education departments and welfare bureaucracies (the Parramatta Girls Home, Ballarat orphanage, Fairbridge just for starters), the media and entertainment industries, and commercial under-age trafficking (remember the Wall, Castello etc in Sydney).

    Or did I just see a formation of pigs doing advanced aerial acrobatics?

  14. Walter Plinge

    Pell’s pursuers should refresh their memories about Operation Midland and Carl Beech.

  15. Lee

    Postscript: The father of the deceased former choirboy (who denied he was ever abused by Pell) has issued via Shine Lawyers to news.com a thoroughly strange letter to the Pope advocating, inter alia, married and women priests.

    This conveniently ignores the fact that the incidence of paedophilia committed by priests was found (by the RC) to be actually higher, pro rata, in a number of other churches (including the Uniting Church) than the Catholic Church, and these churches do permit their priests to marry.

  16. Old Lefty

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Walter’s comment reminds me that the ABC has produced not one word of reporting on the trial, conviction and sentencing of Carl Beech. I wonder why😉.

    The rant from the father of the second so-called victim is bizarre. If the Pope did as the father wishes and ordered Pell under pain of ecclesiastical censure to drop his appeal, he would very likely be in contempt of court. The courts, as I recall, take a dim view of attempts to coerce or bribe complainants and witnesses to drop their case.

    (They can sometimes be indulgent, however. When the ABC’s Jon Stephens sent down for indecent assault on a minor on ABC time and travel allowances, the clincher was a police telephone intercept in which he admitted to the victim that he’d done it (cue for violins in the background as he protested that we all do things we later regret and he would never deliberately hurt anyone etc etc) before offering the victim $5, 000 if he withdrew his allegations. Why Stephens wasn’t also charged with contempt or with attempting to pervert the course of justice is beyond me. At least, though, it was NSW. In Yarragrad an alumnus of the ABC apparat would never be charged with anything.

  17. candy

    The father of the deceased former choirboy (who denied he was ever abused by Pell) has issued via Shine Lawyers to news.com a thoroughly strange letter to the Pope advocating, inter alia, married and women priests.

    Just attention seeking, wanting to see his name on the MSN, weirdo behaviour. His 13 year old was on heroin – absolutely extraordinary at that age. Drugs are in that circle of boys and family and are responsible for their delusions and death. A bad lot. In my opinion.

  18. PB

    ” Never before in Australian history have so many powerful people been so heavily invested in a miscarriage of justice.”

    Best line ever. Given Pell’s work in the Vatican plenty of not-Australians could also be equally invested. Vatican financial people have a habit of finishing up badly.

    As for the Father of the assumed victim, there’s always a ghetto lottery on the go somewhere at any given time.

  19. Lazlo

    All quite so ++ Old Lefty.

    PS I am an old lefty from the 80s, ALP Branch President etc., but grew up a while ago, like you I suspect.

  20. dopey

    When did the boys decide to nick off from the procession to drink the wine…spur of the moment … had they discussed it beforehand?…does anyone know?

  21. Old Lefty

    Indeed, Lazio. I was, however, only a vice-president of an ALP branch. The branch secretary, by the way, was a very decent fellow who had been a member of the Industrial Groups (i.e. the Movement). In those days, the NSW Right had some people with principles. I remember him once nearly puking as he read out a letter of introduction for someone from Victoria which began ‘Dear Comrade’.

  22. P

    At this time my thoughts are with Cardinal Pell. Please pray for him.

    Today I think of this old Catholic hymn.

    When our Parish Priest died in the late 80s I requested that ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ be sung at the requiem mass. It was the last hymn sung and the Church was packed with many standing outside. The singing of this hymn sounded like it would lift the roof off. It was indeed an emotional experience.
    Those words echo in my mind at this time.

  23. Lazlo

    Ah, you were/are Victorian. I was inner city Sydney, when Peter Baldwin was on the march. In those days “groupers” was a term of abuse (although, most of us didn’t really know what it meant, being that it was a Victorian thingie).

  24. Lazlo

    Dear Comrade

    Now it would be Welcome to Country.

  25. Lazlo

    P there is indeed a concerted and state funded (ABC) anti-Catholic pile-on occurring. One problem though is that your “moderate” faction are encouraging it. There is only so much us Proddies can do to help..

  26. If Pell is eventually acquitted, those (mainly in the police and media) who engaged in and publicised the police work across all the complaints made against Pell should be first in line for humiliation. A fair trial for Pell was impossible, and a High Court judge needs to say so. A politician needs to say so with detail.

  27. Pell has however given the persecutors a basis to continue to attack. His decision to not give evidence and face the jury will allow some to say that he did so because he feared cross-examination of his story,knowing that it was false.

  28. Juan

    There is only so much us Proddies can do to help..

    High profile proddies haven’t exactly stood tall in the public square loudly proclaiming Pell’s innocence:

    Example 1;
    Example 2;
    Example 3; and
    Example 4.

    Ironically, that calling is left to agnostics like Andrew Bolt.

  29. Tintarella di Luna

    Hi currencylad thank you for your contributions in relation to George Pell, your eloquence is superb, put together so thoughtfully – this sentence is an exquisite summary of the evil on display. Thank you

  30. Tintarella di Luna

    Oops I mean’t this sentence:

    Never before in Australian history have so many powerful people been so heavily invested in a miscarriage of justice.

  31. Roger

    High profile proddies haven’t exactly stood tall in the public square loudly proclaiming Pell’s innocence

    No, although Lyle Shelton did (and also Protestant politicians John Howard & Craig Kelly).

  32. notafan

    Pell has however given the persecutors a basis to continue to attack. His decision to not give evidence and face the jury will allow some to say that he did so because he feared cross-examination of his story,knowing that it was false.

    More rubbish

    no point in appearing in it didn’t happen, could not have happened case

    and the jury saw the tape of Cardinal Pell’s interview

    once again you are putting the onus on the accused to prove his innocence rather than on the prosecution to prove guilt

  33. Old Lefty

    A defendant is under no obligation to take the stand, and Richter routinely advises his clients not to, because it is supposed to be up to the prosecution, not the defence, to prove something. (Ferguson and Maxwell have, of course, upended that principle among many others.)

    Moreover, a trial judge is supposed to direct the jury to draw no inference from a defendant’s not taking the stand, and I understand that Kidd did so.

  34. Juan

    A defendant is under no obligation to take the stand, and Richter routinely advises his clients not to, because it is supposed to be up to the prosecution, not the defence, to prove something.

    Some of Robert Richter, QC’s other clients are rather more ‘colourful‘ and I’m not sure whether what may be excellent advice in their cases works quite as well for a senior Church figure.

    Outside of monastic life, silence isn’t exactly a Catholic virtue; and maintaining one’s legal right to silence might sit uneasily with the public persona an often very vociferous George Pell has established over the decades he has been in the public eye.

    There’s definitely a society-wide perception Christians want to be heard — speaking truth to power, etc — and, in a biblical context, I can’t imagine St Stephen passing up the opportunity to speak in his own defence when he stood accused before the Sanhedrin.

    I can only wonder if, even unconsciously, this might have created an impression Pell had something to hide; especially with one of the jurors being a [presumably Protestant?] church pastor.

  35. notafan

    my understanding in that sex cases where the issue is one of whether or not there was consent the accused is well advised to take the stand but Cardinal Pell’s standing aside and of course he is a public speaker a homily every Sunday for how many years? taking the stand in a don’t know them it didn’t happen case should be neither here nor there

  36. I know what the trial judge probably told the jury, and maybe Pell’s refusal to face the jury shouldn’t count. But if acquitted, or if there is no re-trial, it’s likely Pell will be attacked in the court of public opinion.

  37. C.L.

    This matter of Pell not testifying is blown out of all proportion.
    At that time, Richter, Pell himself (of course), almost certainly Justice Kidd and the entire civilised world expected him to be acquitted because there was no evidence but only the fabrication of a deranged fabulist. In such circumstances, why give the prosecution an opportunity for some sort of theatrical wordplay gotcha? Remember that regardless of his intelligence, Pell is a frail old man; Richter might also have been wary about Pell’s tendency to stony grouchiness being misconstrued. Finally, Richter had no reason to alter the tactical mix that came so close to Pell being acquitted during his first trial.

  38. Juan

    But if acquitted, or if there is no re-trial, it’s likely Pell will be attacked in the court of public opinion.

    Any decision of the High Court other than ordering a retrial will see the unredacting of the redacted parts of the Royal Commission’s Case Study 28. It doesn’t take soothsayer to predict it will provide more fodder for Pell’s critics.

    You can play a fun game, trying to guess the names which have been redacted based on the length of the blackout blocks. “I’ll take ███ for $200, Alex.”

  39. notafan

    ‘Likely to be attacked in the court of public opinion’

    Where have you been the last few years?

    Also what relevance do the RC papers have and why would they be ‘unredacted’

  40. C.L.

    Any decision of the High Court other than ordering a retrial will see the unredacting of the redacted parts of the Royal Commission’s Case Study 28.

    Are you suggesting the Royal Commission (or the Attorney-General department) will seek to involve itself in a corrupt politicking exercise as a get-square to an acquittal in the High Court?

    Could you name the people likely to make such a decision? I’d be interested to know who they are.

  41. Juan

    ‘Likely to be attacked in the court of public opinion’

    Where have you been the last few years?

    Is that question addressed at me? Those are Rafiki’s words, not mine.

    Also what relevance do the RC papers have and why would they be ‘unredacted.’

    ‘Royal Commission redactions for Ballarat to remain until after George Pell appeal ‘

  42. Juan

    Are you suggesting the Royal Commission (or the Attorney-General department) will seek to involve itself in a corrupt politicking exercise as a get-square to an acquittal in the High Court?

    No.

    I’m suggesting the redacted parts will be unredacted in the manner outlined by a spokesman for the Attorney-General in March earlier this year.

    Having no reason to believe the Attorney-General knew in March what the High Court will acquit George Pell next year, it follows I don’t believe there is any “get-square” in the announcement the report’s unredaction will follow the end of the appeal process.

    The report exists and, absent any legal proceedings it may prejudice, it should be in the public domain. The only “corrupt politicking exercise” might be if someone sought to keep it suppressed well after the appeal process had ended.

  43. C.L.

    Thank you, Tinta.
    ——————
    The redacted material doesn’t relate to sexual abuse allegations against Pell.
    It’s thought to relate to his role on the Ballarat Consultors Committee.
    A nothing-burger. There will be no charges arising out of it.

  44. Juan

    A nothing-burger.

    Depends how you define ‘nothingburger’.

    One suspects what was redacted is not exactly flattering and while it’s almost certain there would be no further charges arising, I think that misses the point.

    If the redacted passages relate to Ballarat it would probably, at least in part, have a detailed account of the alleged Eureka swimming pool incident, despite the charges having been withdrawn. If you bear in mind commissions of inquiry don’t operate with the same standards of proof as the criminal justice system you might appreciate how whatever is revealed will provide, as I said above, “more fodder for Pell’s critics,” which in turn goes to Rafiki’s point that “if acquitted, or if there is no re-trial, it’s likely Pell will be attacked in the court of public opinion.

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  46. P

    Back to the courtroom for George Pell

    The Weekend Australian, Saturday, November 16, 2019, by John Ferguson ASSOCIATE EDITOR

  47. A. van den Akker-Luttmer

    The boy who committed suicide and never spoke before of abuse by Cardinal George Pell, might have had BSD (Borderlie Syndrome Depression). This is in the genes. Has it been investigated??? If there are family members with this type of depression then the reason for his suicide is obvious and has nothing to do with Cardinal Pell. So far as I am concerned the whole story by complainant A looks fabricated.

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