“Can you conclude that you destroyed the original one?” commissioner Justice Peter McClellan asked Keith Allen who once acted as Gray’s lawyer.
The former church trustee and Newcastle Diocesan Council member answered in the affirmative, according to a report from the ABC
“My memory is that I may have, yes ... I think I did it, yes,” Allen said.
This is despite considering Gray, who is already deceased, a “dangerous sexual predator.”
“Yes, he wasn't the most honourable person, I would have thought,” Allen said.
“My memory is that it was the only incident, but it was particularly bad or unpleasant,” he added.
Asked about destroying the letter even though he thought Gray as a “dangerous sexual predator, Allen said that “all the facts hadn’t come out at that particular time.”
Gray was convicted in 1990 for abusing a 14-year-old boy at Wyong on the Central Coast, ABC noted, and sentenced to a three-year good behaviour bond.
Allen called this sentence “probably generous”.
The redating of the letter to 11 February 1990 or a day before the boy’s abuse allowed Gray to transfer to another diocese, the hearings bared.
“By changing the date, Mr Gray would be provided with an opportunity to go somewhere else,” said Justice McClellan. “At the time of his resignation he was in good standing with his bishop, which would be an advantage to Mr Gray, wouldn't it?”
“Well, I presume so,” Allen replied. “You can't move from diocese A to diocese B unless you're in good standing with your bishop.”
Justice McClellan then asked: “So, by changing the date, what's happened is that a document has been made available which allows a false representation to be made to another diocese, doesn't it? You were party to the circumstances in which the false document was created, weren't you?”
Allen then said: “Yes, I certainly destroyed the first resignation.”
The justice said that the redating “in ordinary language … looks like fraud” to which Allen replied, “No, it facilitated Mr. Gray’s status.”
However, Allen did conceded that this “could be described as” false representation of the priest’s status.
A lawyer has admitted during the public hearings of the royal commission in Newcastle that he destroyed the resignation letter of paedophile priest Stephan Gray that facilitated the creation of a new one with an altered date.