Judge rules on Pell Royal Commission evidence

by |
The Royal Commission into Institutionalised child abuse will allow Cardinal George Pell to give evidence via video link.

Justice Peter McClellan accepted a medical report, declaring 74-year-old Pell too ill to fly to Australia without risking a heart attack and excusing him from giving evidence in person.

Pell will appear via video link from Rome to give evidence on church abuse in Ballarat, the ABC reported.
  • William on 23/02/2016 12:15:54 PM

    Pat States:

    “I find most of the comments made in this matter to be simply outrageous. For instance Williams’s statement that 'child rapists.....have high jacked the priesthood'.”

    Pat has not offered a more logical explanation as to why countless numbers of priests have disobeyed the law. Instead of protecting children and informing the police, they have concealed the crimes of the priests. They were not entitled to break the law.

    The evidence shows the multiple offences that priests have committed all around the world.

    Pat states:

    “Pell has the right to take advantage of any of our laws. Further he has not been convicted of any crime.”

    Not only Pell, but, every-one has the right to take advantage of our laws. Those who oppose Pell are entitled to place their opinions and objections before the Royal Commission and in the Public Arena.

    It is agreed that Pell has not been convicted of any crime but that does not mean that an investigation cannot commence nor does it mean that people cannot make their views and beliefs known. ( I draw your attention that the news has indicated that a number of witnesses have come forward to testify to the Royal Commission about Pell and offences)

    It is submitted that a Royal Commission is convened to deal with public perceptions beliefs and suspicions about matters involving the community. As such the community should be heard.

    The ordinary person usually does not have the same access to the media as do prominent and high profile persons. Those prominent people spread their views readily and as a matter of fairness the ordinary folk have a right to disagree and to raise their concerns. Ordinary folk are liberated by the internet and blog sites

    Pat States:

    “Perhaps it is for the apparent bigots amongst you that our vilification laws were written”


    “Bigotry” is defined as “intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.”

    “Intolerance” is defined as unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own.

    It is clear from the failure of Pat to provide proper and reasonable argument against my postings to rebut my argument that Pat is unable to accept the views beliefs that differ from his own. As such he readily defames me and wrongly infers that I am a bigot.

  • William on 22/02/2016 12:13:09 PM

    Thanks Mark.

    Please bear in mind that a reasonable suspicion doesn’t mean that the person is guilty of the suspected offence. In any case the Royal Commission is there to investigate public perceptions and suspicions.

    If you think that the priests are a problem, you haven’t seen nothing like the Department of Defence.

    Generally there is a perception that those in high places conceal these matters because of some presumed need to protect their organisation. In the case of Department of Defence crimes there is no such requirement because the Department has its own complete judicial system; police, judges inspectors and other legal personnel. Defence has been able to suppress legal matters and in the cases of child rapists there is the usual practice of suppression to protect the child’s identity. There was no reason for any of the Department of Defence matters to come to the ear of the public.

    Nevertheless, the crimes against hundreds of 15 year old boys at HMAS Leeuwin (in the 1960's) were enabled due to the refusal to intervene by those who had a duty to act. Even to this day the corroborative evidence of hundreds of victims against perpetrators (of whom at least one is still living comfortably in retirement) means that the Department of Defence has a duty to prosecute the living offender.

    (Recently news reported that a 93 year old concentration camp guard from the 1940's is on trial)

    In addition, the failure of Defence duty holders to prosecute is also a potentially gaolable offence. To date the public officials and judicial officers have continued to refuse to prosecute the peripheral offenders even despite the mountain of evidence against them. (It’s not too hard to prove, complaints were made and they were not acted upon.)

    If you listen to the officials you will hear the same nonsense and deflection that ordinary people wouldn’t believe. E.g. one of the royal commission witnesses/perpetrators stated that he didn’t believe that sexual offences against children were a serious matter.

    It is clear that the senior executives and officials stick together as a means to protect themselves under any and all circumstances and it is not to protect the reputation of the organisation. This is common knowledge and has been referred to over three thousand years ago by an administrator of a large city who has stated :

    “If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.” Ecclesiastes 5:8

  • Pat on 22/02/2016 11:21:01 AM

    I find most of the comments made in this matter to be simply outrageous. For instance Williams statement that 'child rapists.....have high jacked the priesthood'.
    Pell has the right to take advantage of any of our laws. Further he has not been convicted of any crime.
    Perhaps it is for the apparent bigots amongst you that our vilification laws were written

  • Mark Fabbro on 19/02/2016 11:20:07 AM

    William great analysis. Makes sense to me. Will the Federal Police arrest him for contempt or for providing false evidence to the RC if he ever flies back to Australia. Doubt it very much. Hey but miracles do happen dont they?

  • william on 18/02/2016 10:53:50 AM

    The point about Pell having Australian Heart Specialists easily demonstrates the reasonable suspicions:

    a. If Pell’s Oz Docs advised him that his condition was so serious that he could not fly and Pell in fact did fly it is clear that he flew out of the jurisdiction to protect himself from justice.

    b. If Pell’s Docs indicated that he could fly then it is evidence contrary to the Vatican paid doc in Europe who advised that he could not fly

    Now, to be more reasonable, it is unfair to examine Pell out of his context as most bloggists seek to analyse his position in isolation. His context is one where he is a leader in an organisation that is well known for its harbouring of child rapers in the priesthood.

    Of significance is that the child rapists in the Catholic Church are not mere aberrations to be found in any organisation. In the RC Church they have hijacked the priesthood and have systemically organised their own crimes.
    Evidence in support is the Irish diocese that contained 140 child raping priests. They could not have accidentally accumulated that amount in the one diocese.

    In addition, the recent whistle-blowing detective who revealed that child rapists were organised in the Hunter Valley also speaks of systemic abuse and logically knowledge by those in authority.

    Pell’s position means that suspicions surrounding his behaviour are reasonable and that they should be canvassed at the Royal Commission.

  • William on 12/02/2016 10:26:27 AM

    Chris has referred to my posting as merely summing up of allegations.

    There is a point where an allegation becomes a "reasonable suspicion”.

    I draw your attention to the following observations:

    i. Pell has had a heart condition for a long time

    ii. Pell has heart specialists in Australia

    iii. Pell flew all the way to Europe.

    iv. Now that he is in Europe he clearly states that he is unable to fly due to his heart condition.

    It is submitted that there is a reasonable suspicion that Cardinal Pell has taken up a position in the Vatican that will provide him with a favourable outcome.

    The reference in my previous posting about liars is wishful-thinking that somehow the allegiance of Roman Catholics priests is to their God and that Pell might see that he is not entitled to lie. Now that he is in his sanctuary he might feel that he can now rollover.

  • Nikita Robertson on 12/02/2016 9:27:42 AM

    Maurice - "like"

  • Chris on 11/02/2016 11:02:01 AM

    William , your opening works sums up the allegation. Reported in the media - unsubstantiated anywhere else.

  • William on 11/02/2016 8:50:27 AM

    It was reported in the media that the previous Pope who abdicated was about to face criminal charges by one of the EU countries. They related to the period prior to his papacy where he was involved in the concealment of crimes relating to pedophiles.

    He has now retired to living his life in the Vatican where he does not face extradition.

    If Pell is using the Vatican as a sanctuary to escape criminal charges it might mean that he is prepared to tell the truth without repercussion of Australian Law.

    Bear in mind that Proverbs 6: 16-19 states that God hates both liars and lying words. Pell and the priests are under an obligation to tell the truth.

  • Surprised on 8/02/2016 6:30:58 PM

    I don't understand some of the derisory comments. He is turning up, he is giving evidence, he is not a 'no show'. What are you angry about? The same questions will be asked of him and I'm sure he will give the same answers he would have if he was there in person. The vitriol is quite surprising.

  • Chris on 8/02/2016 5:03:10 PM

    GT, he is giving evidence, how can the fact that it not be in person make any real difference to your interpretation of scripture.? Bear in mind this will be the fourth occasion he has given evidence to tribunals of this type.

    Was he not the first primate to establish a system to address the problem?

    I guess some would not be satisfied unless he died en route - doing something he could of done in perfect satisfaction of his requirement at law.

  • GT on 8/02/2016 4:49:20 PM

    Under the s279.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), the court is perfectly at liberty to make this discretionary call, and a genuine health concern as evidenced by prima facie genuine medical evidence and absent any contrary evidence, should be considered sufficient basis for satisfying the requirements of that section.

    However, from a Christian point of view and in light of the severity of the matter, he has shown abject failure as a leader to serve and care self-sacrificially for those under his leadership.

    I share the outrage felt by many of my colleagues here, but let's be clear about one thing: by the laws devised by men, specifically the Australian legislature, he is within his rights to make applications on the basis of genuine threats to his health. Western legal systems have long enshrined a legal right to "look out for number one" if undue harm or inconvenience is not caused to others, and this is the natural result.

    Conversely, it is the Christian model of leadership that his actions are contrary to, some of which is set out in the following verses:

    John 10:11
    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." - Jesus, c.f. the next verse:
    1 Corinthians 11:1
    Follow my example, just as I follow the example of Christ. - Paul

    Phillippians 2:3-4
    Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

    Matthew 20:25-28
    Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • Chris on 8/02/2016 3:51:17 PM

    Plenty of frenzied hysteria here , nothing based on fact or evidence unlike the courts decision. The evidence is that of a witness and will be given on video, nothing is being hidden, subject to the same x exam as in person.

  • Denis on 8/02/2016 3:40:08 PM

    A rational decision based on evidence.

  • Maurice on 8/02/2016 3:38:33 PM

    I did not know he had a heart

  • Mark Fabbro on 8/02/2016 3:33:07 PM

    That the Royal Commission did not demand an independent medical assessment of Pell AND at the same time denying access for stakeholders, victims and the Australian public to the reasons why he cant come to face by way of the only report that people have to rely on is adding insult to injury. One could be forgiven for thinking that this is a kind of reinforcement of the church cover up.
    I as an advocate believe this a weak civil institution pandering to the needs fort eh reputation of the Catholic Church to be put first. it also confirms the status the church has gained as an institution that has for decades operated well above and beyond the law.

  • Maurice on 8/02/2016 3:30:22 PM


  • Objective lawyer on 8/02/2016 3:21:17 PM

    The outrage at the decision is extraordinary. Medical evidence accepted that he would risk a heart attack. Anyone in any case would be given leave to give evidence by video link in the same circumstances and any lawyer would understand that.

  • Andrew Warren on 8/02/2016 3:19:46 PM

    He'd survive the trip on the Vatican's airliner surrounded by a retinue of Vatican nurses, I'm sure. Coward.

  • Chris on 8/02/2016 3:12:23 PM

    good to see the court not mislead by bias media coverage and make a sound decision in law alone. Regardless the evidence on video is worth just as much as that in person.

  • Denyse Dawson on 8/02/2016 2:48:02 PM

    Should have made him return. He is displayed a total lack of regard for victims and therefore has forfeited the right to hide behind illness.

  • Name and Shame on 8/02/2016 2:45:20 PM

    What a disgrace. If he really was God's servant he would turn up out of respect for the victims. Not too old to work. Just too old to do work that doesn't suit him.

Australasian Lawyer forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions