18th Mar 2019
Poll: Mr Pell’s conviction may be a symptom of a flawed system

The sentencing of George Pell for sex crimes committed against two choir boys has struck a chord with the public. And many older Australians surveyed in the YourLifeChoices Friday Flash Poll: George Pell – has justice been done? say they are unhappy with Mr Pell’s conviction and subsequent sentence.

While a psychological condition known as cognitive dissonance could be at play in the refusal to accept Mr Pell’s conviction, many claim the failing of Australia’s legal system is the reason.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when people simply cannot believe in the possibility of criminal behaviour by respected members of the community.

Rachael Sharman, writing for ABC News, puts it well.

“You have a mental picture of someone based on your experience with that person who you may have known, respected and even loved for years,” writes Ms Sharman.

“Suddenly, new information is presented that throws your entire conception of this individual into chaos.

“If you were so wrong about this person, what does that say about your character assessment of everyone else you know and love? It's a horrifying possibility – and too much for some to bear.

“Worse still, what if you have genuinely supported this individual through similar allegations, claims, or trials: what does that say about you? Have you thus tacitly supported their actions?”

While this may be the case for many Australians, particularly Catholics and other churchgoers, our survey reveals that respondents believe it may be more likely due to failings of the court.

“To have a court case, let alone a conviction, on the uncorroborated testimony of one accuser, without any evidence or proof, is very unusual, as many commentators (e.g. John Silvester) have pointed out,” wrote YourLifeChoices member Digby. “And for the court to find the other deceased boy was also abused, even though he denied it all his life, is bizarre to my way of thinking. If this conviction stands, then they can come for any of us, and find us guilty and imprison us, on the say-so of one accuser … However, I am the first to admit I was not present in the Court to listen to proceedings.” .

Grateful wrote: “This is nothing to do with religion, it is all about our ‘justice’ system. And this case failed miserably on the most fundamental tenet – reasonable doubt. There is no way that that decision would pass the pub test which is often the guide we use.”

Of those surveyed, 61 per cent are unhappy with Mr Pell’s sentence, with 57 per cent saying the term is not long enough. However, 39 per cent are satisfied with the sentence. Three in 10 think the sentence is appropriate, and 13 per cent say they are unsure if it is long enough.

“The length of the sentence is not an issue for me. the fact that such a senior person in the Catholic church has been sentenced is enough,” wrote VJ.

Some members say that Mr Pell may be being crucified for the sins of others, in which he may also have been complicit.

“In my view, Mr Pell was certainly found guilty of representing the Catholic Church more than any abuse he was actually accused of. People just don't like Mr Pell, but that does not make him guilty as charged,” wrote KSS. “… just wait until the case has run its course, and that means waiting until the appeal process is complete.”

Chief judge Kidd said that he took Mr Pell’s ‘public vilification’ into consideration in the sentencing. Do older Australians think this is fair cause for a reduced sentence? Eight in 10 say no, with just 20 per cent sympathetic to Mr Pell’s situation.

Still, some feel that public opinion may have been cause for Mr Pell’s conviction, rather than a reason for a reduced sentence.

“Somehow, I think the jury was influenced by background publicity rather than the actual evidence led at the trial. There is so much emotion around this whole topic and emotion has no place in determining whether sufficient evidence exists to convict someone of what is a heinous criminal act. I don't know if Pell did this or didn't, but proof to a criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt is very high and I wouldn't be surprised if this conviction is found to be unsafe at the appeal,” wrote Illuminati.

The Pell case has sent shockwaves through the church and its followers. There is little doubt that public opinion of the Catholic Church has been swayed by constant reports of crimes such as those of which Mr Pell has been convicted.

Still, 26 per cent of respondents say it has not influenced their opinion of the church. Yet almost one in 10 believers say they will turn their back on the church as a result of this case and the many other cases in question. However, 21 per cent say their opinion of the church has been negatively affected, but they will not turn their back on their faith. Of non-believers, 17 per cent said the case has influenced their opinion, but 17 per cent also said it hadn’t. Only 11 per cent said the case had ‘somewhat’ influenced their opinion of the church.

One way floated to prevent such sexual temptation has been to revoke the vow of celibacy priests must take as part of their vows. We asked our members if the church should consider removing this caveat.

More than eight in 10 respondents (81 per cent) think it would be a good idea, however, 32 per cent say they don’t think it would make a difference. Fourteen per cent would not like to see such a change, with three per cent saying it is an important part of the ministry.

Mr Pell’s appeal of the conviction means the case is technically still open and, judging by the comments in the Friday Flash Poll, many YourLifeChoices members feel the decision will be overturned.  

No matter what the result of the appeal, a dark cloud will hang over the church until victims of alleged sex crimes get justice. What could the church do to make amends for these crimes? OlderandWiser offers a thought which seems to resonate with the wider community.

“I am far less concerned with whether Pell's sentence was adequate than with the massive injustice suffered for so long by all children who suffered abuse – injustice for which Pell was partly responsible … The Catholic Church has much to answer for, as do most other religious institutions and the State, but ultimately it was the law of the land that denied children proper protection and – having failed to protect them – silenced their complaints and denied them access to help.”

Do you think Mr Pell’s conviction will be overturned? Has the legal system failed in this case? Are the victims of these crimes being overlooked in favour of the ‘religion’ argument?

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    18th Mar 2019
    10:33am
    Are you a catholic Leon?
    Who would know if Pell is guilty or not? The fact that several victims have named him would appear to mean he did it but many people in the public have an axe to grind and one would hate to see anybody convicted because of their blatant arrogance and contemptuous behaviour, including Pell.
    I have no time for the man but as usual ask if police reports were filed at the time. If not then it seems unreasonable to convict him. My call is he'll get off on appeal.
    Farside
    18th Mar 2019
    11:14am
    only one victim named Pell for the offences that he has been convicted. The alleged second victim did not make a complaint and denied the abuse on several occasions. It is also pertinent that the only jury that saw testimony from the complainant first hand did not convict (reportedly hung 10-2 in favour of Pell). I am no fan of Pell or the church (two of my schools have since had teachers convicted of pedophilia) however this whole process smells dodgy given absence of evidence and the testimony of other that make the complaint seem so unlikely. It may have been a different issue altogether if charged with obstruction for his role in moving clergy around but for these charges I agree he will likely be acquitted on appeal.
    MICK
    18th Mar 2019
    11:54am
    Whilst I find Pell one of the most contemptuous people I have ever met I tend to agree with you Farside. My question is always WHERE'S THE POLICE REPORT?
    Yes he'll almost certainly get off on appeal. The blood letting has been done.
    Tom Tank
    18th Mar 2019
    1:12pm
    The Catholic Church always worked strongly, and I suggest unethically, against any report being made to the police. They actually have an attitude that their Canon Law takes precedence over any other Law when it comes to their clergy. So far they have always worked harder to protect their church than to serve the needs of the victims.
    There have been other reports of sexual misconduct lodged against Pell and while they were not proceeded with, because of a lack of sufficient evidence to secure a conviction, one of the young men has lodged a civil case against Pell.
    One thing consistently overlooked in this whole debate is that the jury were present in the court whereas no one contributing to this was. There can be a whole world of difference between reading the written words and actually being present during those words being spoken with all the associated parts of full communication - voice inflexion, body language etc. The entire proceedings in that court have never been made public so no contributing to this debate knows all that went on in that court.
    Tom Tank
    18th Mar 2019
    1:12pm
    The Catholic Church always worked strongly, and I suggest unethically, against any report being made to the police. They actually have an attitude that their Canon Law takes precedence over any other Law when it comes to their clergy. So far they have always worked harder to protect their church than to serve the needs of the victims.
    There have been other reports of sexual misconduct lodged against Pell and while they were not proceeded with, because of a lack of sufficient evidence to secure a conviction, one of the young men has lodged a civil case against Pell.
    One thing consistently overlooked in this whole debate is that the jury were present in the court whereas no one contributing to this was. There can be a whole world of difference between reading the written words and actually being present during those words being spoken with all the associated parts of full communication - voice inflexion, body language etc. The entire proceedings in that court have never been made public so no contributing to this debate knows all that went on in that court.
    Hawkeye
    18th Mar 2019
    7:49pm
    The clergy are trained experts in the use of fear to subjugate the will of those under their influence. After all, that is their bloody job isn't.

    Imagine the effect on a young boy who's just been raped by the most powerful person he's ever met.
    Report it to police Mick? Yeah right.
    maxchugg
    19th Mar 2019
    9:29am
    Hawkeye, why did one of the alleged victims wait more than 20 years before lodging a complaint?

    What about the media reports which indicate that the mother was told by her son that he had not been assaulted by Pell? Yet now the father is reported to be planning to sue both Pell and the church? Will the mother be joining in this action?

    If this claim manages to be successful, the floodgates will open, and the courts will be choked with many thousands of similar claims because of the strong probability that there are many others with even better claims to compensation than the family of one who died of a drug overdose.
    maxchugg
    19th Mar 2019
    9:29am
    Hawkeye, why did one of the alleged victims wait more than 20 years before lodging a complaint?

    What about the media reports which indicate that the mother was told by her son that he had not been assaulted by Pell? Yet now the father is reported to be planning to sue both Pell and the church? Will the mother be joining in this action?

    If this claim manages to be successful, the floodgates will open, and the courts will be choked with many thousands of similar claims because of the strong probability that there are many others with even better claims to compensation than the family of one who died of a drug overdose.
    Hawkeye
    19th Mar 2019
    12:17pm
    Well Max, we can't have the courts choked up in the name of justice can we.

    And as for waiting 20 years to lodge a complaint, I (along with others) have been subjected to bullying by an ex-army major who is now one of the top dogs in the new submarine project in South Australia.
    I haven't reported it due to the helplessness and hopelessness instilled in my mental condition by this individual (and I was an adult, not a young boy). Perhaps the day will come when someone stronger than myself starts the complaint process against this weed, and I may find the strength to join in.
    Until then, the best I can do is to keep up the comments such as this, in the hope that someone will start the ball rolling.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    10:19pm
    Hawkeye, now you have my sympathy. I have a close relative who worked in an area very similar to the one you mention. Without going into details, this relative was continually hounded, facing a series of trumped-up charges until abandoning the employment was the only viable option.

    Some of the institutions in which you and my relative were involved are rotten to the core and desperately in need of someone with ideas akin to those of controversial President Trump when he spoke of "draining the swamp."

    Like you, I also am hoping , with my relative, hat the scoundrels involved in the matter to which I refer will receive a well deserved and long overdue comeuppance, no doubt when the inevitable calamity occurs the only outcome will be a massive coverup.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    10:19pm
    Hawkeye, now you have my sympathy. I have a close relative who worked in an area very similar to the one you mention. Without going into details, this relative was continually hounded, facing a series of trumped-up charges until abandoning the employment was the only viable option.

    Some of the institutions in which you and my relative were involved are rotten to the core and desperately in need of someone with ideas akin to those of controversial President Trump when he spoke of "draining the swamp."

    Like you, I also am hoping , with my relative, hat the scoundrels involved in the matter to which I refer will receive a well deserved and long overdue comeuppance, no doubt when the inevitable calamity occurs the only outcome will be a massive coverup.
    Hoohoo
    23rd Mar 2019
    11:35pm
    Yes, Tom Tank, Canon Law has a lot to answer for in protecting abusive priests against raped children. It''s a bit like Sharia Law - neither should be allowed to overtrump our real Law.

    Unfortunately, the church is not only arrogant in this respect, but it's an all-male patriarchy with generations of entitlement instilled into the institution.

    Hawkeye is correct in pointing out that small children, full of fear, shame & under the threats of their abusers to remain silent, had all the cards stacked against them to speak up. Some people here don't seem to appreciate just how much shame a raped person feels. And a small catholic child has even fewer weapons to counter sexual assault, often because they haven't been told the truth about sex, only that it's dirty & shameful. The abuser takes full advantage of this, even making the abused child believe it's their fault. It takes incredible bravery to speak up, even years after the event.

    And what has the church done to help abuse survivors? Made them go through the church for "healing", where often they have to relive the abuse they have tried to bury for years. Many parishes have refused to give compensation for people abused by convicted rapists.

    I wish you all the strength & peace in the world, Hawkeye. Only you know the right time to act, just as many of these abused kids have waited years before they were ready to speak up. And look how the floodgates opened in the Royal Commission into child sex abuse! The more I hear of abuse in the Forces the more I think a Royal Commission is due there, too. I'll bet the floodgates would open up there, too.
    Hoohoo
    24th Mar 2019
    12:03am
    MICK, if a child tells you they've been violated you are obliged by law to report it to the police, but that law has only been in play in more recent times.

    You're being totally unreasonable to expect police reports back then, when the church deliberately kept complaints within their own walls, & "dealt" with assaults by letting an abusing priest go to another (unsuspecting) Parish. Many pedophile priests preyed on vulnerable children whose fathers had died in the war (so their mothers were poor & desperate). They'd offer to take the children camping on weekend excursions. Do you think these women would believe their child if they said the priest abused them? The kids wouldn't dare mention it & they weren't empowered to go to the police on their own.

    The church betrayed them so viciously. It continues to betray them by refusing them compensation.
    franky
    18th Mar 2019
    10:54am
    Who do we think is telling the truth... no one knows .. probably it’s there conscience that will punish them as long as they live... I’m also curious on the verdict, after decades of memories ... !!!!
    Paddington
    18th Mar 2019
    10:58am
    I think it might be more important to find out if Pell aided and abetted priests over many years to avoid detection. The judge said he had not offended before or after this event/s which is strange for a pedophile. He may get off if it can be shown that there is doubt or any part of the evidence or process was a bit dodgy.
    Public opinion would probably demand he stay in jail though!
    How many pedophile priests have been missed while all resources were spent getting this verdict?
    Paedophilia needs putting under a microscope and addressing the causes so that children can be protected. It seems that prevention would be better than picking up the broken pieces of children’s lives. Apart from priests there must be many more violated in homes and by relatives and friends so addressing the issue seems important.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:44pm
    Yes - that is the real issue - but he wasn't tried for aiding and abetting and covering up - though I suspect he was convicted for those ...
    Hoohoo
    23rd Mar 2019
    11:48pm
    What is so horrific is that the one institution Catholics believe will have integrity, turns out to be a protected haven for pedophiles! Two girls I went to (Catholic) school with were raped by their fathers & brothers, since they were 9 years old. I had no idea. One of these girls was my friend from infants school. It only came out years later (after failed marriages) when they were in their 30's. Their mothers did not believe them.

    Wasn't it Pell that let that vile Ridsdale priest move on to greener pastures, to re-offend again & again?
    Suddha
    18th Mar 2019
    11:07am
    If he is guilty he deserves what he gets. No matter what anyone says, (Pell says he is not guilty, and the victim says Pell abused him) the reality is that God only knows who did what and would have to answer to him one day.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:45pm
    If only god knows - how does a jury know beyond any reasonable doubt?
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:46pm
    Again - I'm not a Catholic and I am not religious minded - perhaps that is why I see things without religious prejudice.
    YJK
    18th Mar 2019
    11:07am
    Interesting to note that Cardinal Pell is referred to in this article as MR PELL. This is erroneous on two accounts. Firstly, he is STILL a cardinal - at least until the appeal. If the appeal fails and the conviction remains, then there may be a process of laicisation where he is stripped of his title as Cardinal.

    Secondly, even if this happens, he will always be, and should be, addressed as DR PELL. He holds a doctoral degree from Oxford University - and that title is part of his professional being. So, could I ask the media at least to stop belittling his academic achievemnet and give him the title that he has rightly earned: DR George Pell.
    KSS
    18th Mar 2019
    12:52pm
    You are correct YJK but this is just another indication of how Cardinal Pell has been treated in the media since the beginning.
    Hoohoo
    23rd Mar 2019
    11:53pm
    He's just a person like you & me, YJK. If we break the law we are subject to being found guilty & convicted. We are all equal under the law.
    Hoohoo
    24th Mar 2019
    12:15am
    Titles are just pompous words.
    Do you think someone should gain favourable treatment because they're a Doctor of something? I heard the Prosecutor say that he would be referred to as "Mr Pell" during the hearings, for the reason that people on the jury wouldn't be influenced or intimidated by his power & prestige. After all, many pedophile priests used their power & prestige to give them access to children & to commit abuse on them.
    john
    18th Mar 2019
    11:14am
    No one knows whether Pell is guilty or not , right at this moment, mainly because the media has attacked this person for years, and because of the "he has to be guilty" before the trial reporting on this bloke, he never stood a chance of a fair trial.
    His guilt or non guilt has not been served by what looked like a biased media led massacre of any justice having a hope, that is terrifying for any Australian in the future, including the gangsters of the Melbourne underworld who may or may not have had justice, although they are a different kettle of fish, they are crooks they know it we know it. But have a look at what Victorian courts and lawyers and coppers got up to.
    Pell could be as guilty as anything, so maybe the law just said let it all out in the open let the media do what they do, and we'll lock this mongrel up anyway.
    And that's fine, really. But what if he really is innocent? And that is the question, no matter whether a person has committed any type of crime, that Pell trial was not normal, and doubtful it was even fair. Any way he knows whether he is guilty or not , so its his mind that'll be squirming.
    Hoohoo
    24th Mar 2019
    12:40am
    That's not what the law is allowed to do, john. What trial is ever "normal"? Have you doubted any other conviction, (except for Lindy Chamberlain's)? The Judge can only hear each case on it's own & judge on the evidence available from the Defense & the Prosecutor.
    That's why they suppressed this Pell conviction for three months, because he was being investigated over other allegations, to which he was found not guilty. They didn't want the earlier conviction to have influence over the other charges, so as to GIVE HIM A FAIR TRIAL.

    You are absolutely right that no-one but Pell & his accusers know the truth, but it's not because of the media attacking Pell or the church, it's because of the overwhelming numbers of little kids that were raped by many, many pedophile priests. The evidence from the Royal Commission has been enormous. That the church covered it up for so long is the most amazing feat, but that just goes to show how much power & influence the church has in our society.

    It blows me out how many people, both Catholic & non-religious, want to believe Pell instead of the child. They want justice for Pell but don't seem very concerned at all about justice for the accuser. Pell has been convicted in a court of law & yet people still don't want to accept his guilt or believe that child.
    Hoohoo
    28th Mar 2019
    1:52am
    I was wrong about the other case pending. Pell wasn't found "not guilty", the charges were actually dropped.
    gumtree
    18th Mar 2019
    11:21am
    Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? No! Would it pass the pub test? No! This is like the case of the proposed Justice of the Supreme Court in the US. The democrats wanted the man disqualified on the basis of the uncorroborated assertion of a person sexual assault many years ago.person many years. Fortunately, for the accused, the reasonable doubt argument prevailed. Whatever you may think of Pell, he should face the justice system we have known it - not a court judge presiding over a kangaroo court. Innocent until proven guilty not guilty until proven innocent. I'd be surprised if Pell was not successful on appeal. If he's not, we all need to worry about being accused of anything by anybody who presents uncorroborated assertions of wrong doing. I'd be interested in hearing the views of prominent lawyers about the verdict and any corroborated evidence of the actual sexual offence with the victim.
    MICK
    18th Mar 2019
    11:39am
    AND because the man was a plant from Trump...who now has a Republican majority on the Supreme Court. This is how politics becomes perverted.
    Pell? I don't know. The question I keep asking for historical claims of assault is WHERE IS THE POLICE RECORD OF YOUR COMPLAINT? Normally there is none.
    Chat
    18th Mar 2019
    12:48pm
    I'm assuming that since you are so adamant that Pell is innocent you were not a juror in the case or the decision from the Jury, that was unanimous, would have been a majority only.
    This whole issue is filled with emotion and people relying on news reports to determine their viewpoint.
    I believe that the only people capable of making the decision -- guilty or innocent -- are the jurors who are the only people to have heard the full evidence.
    No-one else has ALL the relevant information so are only expressing an opinion which, in all likelihood, is based on some sort of personal belief.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:51pm
    Again, Mick - that man wasn't 'on trial' for being a Trumpet.. he was being evaluated on the basis of his morality and suitability for the job etc.

    Same with Pell - he was not on trial for covering over or aiding and abetting actions by others - he was on trial for one incident.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    10:31pm
    What has happened to the statute of limitations which, to the best of my understanding was intended to prevent prosecutions succeeding because the period of time between the committing of the offence and the attempted prosecution was so long that conviction beyond reasonable doubt was in doubt?

    Assuming - I repeat, assuming that Pell was guilty as charged and would be allowed to escape justice using the statute of limitations, another principle still comes into effect, that it is better for 100 guilty men (or women to be P.C) to be acquitted than for one innocent person to be convicted.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    10:31pm
    What has happened to the statute of limitations which, to the best of my understanding was intended to prevent prosecutions succeeding because the period of time between the committing of the offence and the attempted prosecution was so long that conviction beyond reasonable doubt was in doubt?

    Assuming - I repeat, assuming that Pell was guilty as charged and would be allowed to escape justice using the statute of limitations, another principle still comes into effect, that it is better for 100 guilty men (or women to be P.C) to be acquitted than for one innocent person to be convicted.
    Hoohoo
    24th Mar 2019
    12:56am
    Thank you, Chat, for your words of wisdom. Like you say, the rest is mere opinion.

    maxchugg, are you suggesting all those other children raped by pedophiles like Ridsdale, should not have been allowed to bring him to trial because it happened so long ago? Some people here seem to have a very warped sense of justice. The Royal Commission dropped that statute in all these cases of historical abuse, because the church didn't report them to the police in a timely fashion, if at all. No-one would have received any justice had the statute been in place & ALL THOSE PEDOPHILES WOULD BE STILL IN OUR MIDST DOING WHAT THEY DO. Would that be justice, maxchugg?

    Unfortunately, that maggot Ridsdale died before justice caught up with the vile brute.
    purplejan88
    18th Mar 2019
    11:28am
    " uncorroborated testimony of one accuser, without any evidence or proof" - how do you prove sex abuse years after the fact?? i was abused for a number of years as a child, when i told about it to those who i thought were supposed to protect me - I was not believed - so how do i prove it now 50 years later???
    removing the celibacy clause will not change anything when the perpetrators are abusing boys nor do i believe it will change anything as people who hide behind religion to abuse others will do so celibacy or not.
    it would be so nice if ALL people did not wrong to others at all
    MICK
    18th Mar 2019
    11:41am
    Simple: FILE A POLICE REPORT. That does not vanish and is hard evidence. Be it Pell or the MeToo movement THERE ARE NO POLICE REPORTS.....so you have to be wary about the intent of those who claim they were abused.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    Perfectly correct, jan - how do you PROVE - not just assert, but prove..... and then prove beyond any reasonable doubt?

    Put simply - you can't - and our society's only alternative then would be Kangaroo Courts enabling conviction on accusation (something the 'feminists' demand, BTW - and will never get without their war on men hotting up yet again, but stoopid is as stoopid does, sir)...
    purplejan88
    18th Mar 2019
    1:00pm
    @ MICK - most 8 to 12 year old children would not know to file a police report and would not have the means to do so. when you are telling those who you thought would put a stop to the abuse do not believe you you do not think about going to the police. you are already 'hearing' that you are a liar etc. what would be the point of doing so now 50 years later when the perpetrator is dead. filing a report is no more evidence than me stating verbally in court that this person abused me.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    1:09pm
    True, jan - most children would not have the power to even think they could make a complaint. That is why their parents/guardians are supposed to encourage them to speak up about things, and then act on their behalf.

    Sadly, many parents etc do not.

    Footnote:- my children were always encouraged to have their own mind and thoughts on things and to speak up... equal members of the team so to speak - and my grand-children are raised the same... none so far has done a single thing wrong - no drugs, no nothing.

    Empower your children to be themselves - they are not - after all - you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkaKwXddT_I
    Hoohoo
    24th Mar 2019
    1:24am
    I know lie detector tests aren't foolproof, but can they be used in a court of law?
    I suppose they wouldn't work on a pedophile priest anyway, as he's obviously sold his soul if he can happily rape children while "serving the Lord".
    I'm very sorry to hear your story, purplejan88. I fear there are many people like you who as children, were never believed by those who should have protected you. So often it is the parent/guardian who is the abuser.

    MICK you are being totally unreasonable about expecting police reports in the case of rape or abuse. I find your comment "...so you have to be wary about the intent of those who claim they were abused." most offensive. Why do you have to be wary about their intent? Just to own up to being raped is very damned difficult, especially as you would be in shock after the attack. Can you imagine what it would be like to be violently raped? Would your first thought be "I must go straight to the police, where I'll be probed & swabbed on the very site of the rape?" Your first instinct would be to find a safe place with someone you trust, then wash yourself thoroughly of your violation. If there was a possibility that you may become pregnant as a result of the rape, the first thing you'd want to do is flush out the semen. These instincts will go against you being able to prove anything in a court of law. Please remember that rapists rely on you having these normal reactions, so the more they shock you the less you are able to report it to the police. Also, they often threaten their victim that they'll kill them, should they report it to the police.
    nan
    18th Mar 2019
    11:45am
    I read that Pell has hired a $25,000 a day barrister.
    MICK
    18th Mar 2019
    11:49am
    Paid for by the Vatican?
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    Is that relevant?
    nan
    18th Mar 2019
    1:14pm
    Trebor. Yes, think so. Children don't have the luxury of such a barrister to defend them.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    1:45pm
    Complainants have the entire power of the state to support them - an automatic unbalance, nan, and one only partially offset by the ability of some to hire an expensive lawyer.

    Far too many have the idea in their mind that somehow being in a contest with the State means you are automatically guilty ... perhaps the 'Legal Aid Commission"' (three lies for the price of one) should provide legal assistance to both accuser and accused on an equal basis..... as things stand the defendant is on a hiding to nothing given that to win in court carries with it enormous financial and social costs.

    On which note - if/when Pell's appeal is upheld - will that learned psychologist above state there is cognitive dissonance over the refusal of some in the community to accept that outcome? Or does his version of cognitive dissonance only apply to chosen groups in society - those coming in to bat second after being accused of anything - meaning they are not, in that sense, the aggressor at all.

    It's a woman's trick - accuse first and you get the first salvo in, from which the opposing ship can never recover. The State does it all the time, and it is firmly entrenched in houses of learning, where the first thing people know about many 'issues' they have become embroiled in is when they receive the KGB knock on the door or its equivalent.
    Sceptic
    18th Mar 2019
    2:28pm
    Absolute nonsense, the Vatican has not paid for Cardinal Pell's defence. I believe it was from donations.
    Hoohoo
    21st Mar 2019
    6:14pm
    Trebor, you seem to not want to believe any accuser. Is that because most abusers are men (& you hate women)? "It's a woman's trick - accuse first and you get the first salvo in, from which the opposing ship can never recover." OMG this presumes the first salvo was NOT the rape? Can you hear yourself?

    No wonder SO MANY children were raped. The power imbalance was so overwhelming for these unlucky, abused children.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    10:58pm
    Hoohoo, in comment in other areas I was wondering about your gender, I wonder no more!

    Rape of any person is abhorrent and, to cofound the many who are using this case to justify their hatred of Christianity, it may be argued that no person who is a true Christian would even contemplate such an act because of the knowledge that the Bible is clear that the eventual penalty would be worse than having a millstone tied around their neck before being dropped into the sea.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    10:58pm
    Hoohoo, in comment in other areas I was wondering about your gender, I wonder no more!

    Rape of any person is abhorrent and, to cofound the many who are using this case to justify their hatred of Christianity, it may be argued that no person who is a true Christian would even contemplate such an act because of the knowledge that the Bible is clear that the eventual penalty would be worse than having a millstone tied around their neck before being dropped into the sea.
    Hoohoo
    24th Mar 2019
    1:43am
    oh well, maxchugg, I presume you believe God wrote everything in the Bible. Do you?

    The Bible is a very interesting book with lots of interesting stories, but I believe men wrote it, not a deity. You could find a hundred quotes to back up a belief & a hundred quotes to the contrary, so I decided a long time ago that I'm not letting such a book rule my life in any way, because it's not reliable or consistant. To me, it's got nothing to do with God.

    I love Jesus' message, & I love lots & lots of Christians, but I very much dislike the church. The church has betrayed us all. It doesn't act like Jesus at all. The church has lost its way.
    Hoohoo
    28th Mar 2019
    2:09am
    Obviously all those pedophile priests weren't true Christians & yet they were Catholics. Do you think they thought the church condoned rape? They may be forgiven for thinking this, by the way the church covered it up & allowed them to continue raping children.
    It is you, maxchugg, who is conflating my hatred for the church as a hatred against Christ. They are two totally different things. As I said above, the church has lost its way.
    OlderandWiser
    18th Mar 2019
    11:56am
    What we do know for sure about Pell is that he resisted facing trial (which I think gave the media and public an opportunity to prejudge him and worked against him in the end), and that he was responsible for a 'compensation' system that silenced victims, limited their recourse, capped any compensation to protect church profits, and made the process of pursuing justice sheer hell for victims. That system also served - to some extent - to protect priests who had committed acts of sex abuse.

    I think his appeal will succeed, because on the specific charges he was tried for there appears to be inadequate evidence to meet the requirement to prove guilt 'beyond reasonable doubt'. The acts we know for sure he is guilty of were not criminal acts. They were not actually illegal - only immoral, cruel, and unfair.

    Legal reforms now allow victims some recourse, though compensation payouts tend to be low and it's really way too little, way too late for most who suffered serious harm.

    As Paddington says, we should focus on prevention - though I fear that's a massive challenge given the nature of humans and the society we live in. But to prevent, we must be seen to be enforcing the law and punishing adequately those who break it. To prevent, we must encourage victims to speak out and we must offer them support and help.

    The problem we now face, though, is that making complaint has become trendy and profitable. How do we now reliably sort the genuine victims from those who might be tempted to 'cash in' - perhaps with minimal cause for offence (as we saw in the cases of some celebrities, whose alleged 'victims' complained of them committing trivial acts like merely pinching a bottom?).

    We are paying bucket loads of compensation now to people who suffered nothing at all directly - who pursue promising careers in well-paid jobs and enjoy far more opportunity and privilege than hundreds of thousands of whites - merely on the basis of race. Do we now also invite claims for compensation from every individual who was ever offended or frightened by someone exposing themselves or touching them? And conversely, since the Royal Commission, acts of serious abuse, deprivation or neglect attract little attention unless sex abuse was involved. We have set groups apart as more privileged, more protected, more entitled... And we risk now setting those who claim sex abuse of any kind apart as yet another group who must be afforded reparation. We've even removed the need for evidence in compensation claims. We've had to, because we barred claims for so long that witnesses are now dead and evidence, facts are forgotten, and evidence is buried.

    I think the problem society now faces is that for every action there is an opposite reaction. Whatever we do to make things better for some risks creating problems for others. The core problem is that we simply don't know how to stop humans being human! And humans are flawed creatures.

    I think the best thing we can do to protect children is to encourage them to be aware of danger and to speak out immediately if they are hurt or frightened. And adults must learn to listen and take heed. Victims have been afraid to speak, and their long silence raises doubt as to their integrity. It also serves the cause of those who would exaggerate or fabricate for material gain. But we cannot risk more hurt to genuine victims. Should they now be silenced because they were forced into silence for so long?

    I work with people who suffered terrible abuse (not sexual) and horrific injustice. For decades, they remained silent because they were convinced by the perpetrators that the victims were at fault, and if they spoke out they would be blamed and punished. They were shunned by society, because their abusers were 'respected people'. Happily, today they speak freely. They no longer live with misplaced shame and self-hatred.

    We must find ways to ensure that no child ever again is silenced by blame, shame, or fear of retribution for exposing evil. If children can speak and be heard, we can address these issues in a time frame that reduces doubt and question. Cognative Dissodance must not be permitted to deny children protection.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:56pm
    I suspect that in a similar situation I would resist being dragged to trial.... on the basis of the 'brief of evidence' I would view the whole thing as a nonsense and unworthy of time and effort.
    KSS
    18th Mar 2019
    1:30pm
    "We are paying bucket loads of compensation now to people who suffered nothing at all directly..."

    You are right there Olderandwiser. The father of the second boy in the Pell case (who died having never claimed to having been abused), is now suing the church for the mental anguish of himself over his son being abused by Cardinal Pell.

    Go figure!
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    1:52pm
    **rubs fingers together in a universal gesture** .. it's all about-a da money.. da money.... and in the public mind, if that case is handed to that father out of pure prejudice on the far lower civil standard of proof - it will be proof positive of Pell's guilt, even though it has no bearing on the criminal case. Look at OJ - a criminal court found him not guilty - a civil court forced payment of millions.... (I still think he done it, but hey - a jury of his peers didn't) ....

    I warned the Law Reform Commission (another three lies for the price of one) many years ago about certain legislations that were set to lower the concept of 'innocence until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt in a properly constituted court of law' (a case of many lies for the price of one) would result in a serious downturn in justice (one lie for the price of one) in this nation ......

    Now those chickens are coming home to roost as we sleep on... the insertion of countless 'civil' impositions on any accused has lead us directly to a lowering of the standard of proof overall.
    Hoohoo
    24th Mar 2019
    2:10am
    KSS, the father of the second boy in the Pell case (who died having never claimed to having been abused), is now suing the church for the mental anguish of himself over his son being abused by Pell. The boy was 13 at the time of the abuse & by the age of 14 he had become a heroin addict. It is well documented that abused children change suddenly & often start behaving badly.
    So maybe that father believes the first boy (who survived to tell the story, & who finally came forward when he was out of the church's clutches & felt brave enough & safe enough), because it fills in the pieces of the puzzle of his own son's demise? Perhaps that father did indeed "Go figure!"
    It's not uncommon for people to lie about not being raped (especially boys & men) because they are so understandably ashamed. Also, the abuser tells the boy it's his fault & threatens him not to tell. But there's another reason the victim doesn't want to speak up - because they are heterosexual & by admitting to being the victim of the rape they believe they are somehow now a homosexual.
    OlderandWiser
    18th Mar 2019
    11:56am
    What we do know for sure about Pell is that he resisted facing trial (which I think gave the media and public an opportunity to prejudge him and worked against him in the end), and that he was responsible for a 'compensation' system that silenced victims, limited their recourse, capped any compensation to protect church profits, and made the process of pursuing justice sheer hell for victims. That system also served - to some extent - to protect priests who had committed acts of sex abuse.

    I think his appeal will succeed, because on the specific charges he was tried for there appears to be inadequate evidence to meet the requirement to prove guilt 'beyond reasonable doubt'. The acts we know for sure he is guilty of were not criminal acts. They were not actually illegal - only immoral, cruel, and unfair.

    Legal reforms now allow victims some recourse, though compensation payouts tend to be low and it's really way too little, way too late for most who suffered serious harm.

    As Paddington says, we should focus on prevention - though I fear that's a massive challenge given the nature of humans and the society we live in. But to prevent, we must be seen to be enforcing the law and punishing adequately those who break it. To prevent, we must encourage victims to speak out and we must offer them support and help.

    The problem we now face, though, is that making complaint has become trendy and profitable. How do we now reliably sort the genuine victims from those who might be tempted to 'cash in' - perhaps with minimal cause for offence (as we saw in the cases of some celebrities, whose alleged 'victims' complained of them committing trivial acts like merely pinching a bottom?).

    We are paying bucket loads of compensation now to people who suffered nothing at all directly - who pursue promising careers in well-paid jobs and enjoy far more opportunity and privilege than hundreds of thousands of whites - merely on the basis of race. Do we now also invite claims for compensation from every individual who was ever offended or frightened by someone exposing themselves or touching them? And conversely, since the Royal Commission, acts of serious abuse, deprivation or neglect attract little attention unless sex abuse was involved. We have set groups apart as more privileged, more protected, more entitled... And we risk now setting those who claim sex abuse of any kind apart as yet another group who must be afforded reparation. We've even removed the need for evidence in compensation claims. We've had to, because we barred claims for so long that witnesses are now dead and evidence, facts are forgotten, and evidence is buried.

    I think the problem society now faces is that for every action there is an opposite reaction. Whatever we do to make things better for some risks creating problems for others. The core problem is that we simply don't know how to stop humans being human! And humans are flawed creatures.

    I think the best thing we can do to protect children is to encourage them to be aware of danger and to speak out immediately if they are hurt or frightened. And adults must learn to listen and take heed. Victims have been afraid to speak, and their long silence raises doubt as to their integrity. It also serves the cause of those who would exaggerate or fabricate for material gain. But we cannot risk more hurt to genuine victims. Should they now be silenced because they were forced into silence for so long?

    I work with people who suffered terrible abuse (not sexual) and horrific injustice. For decades, they remained silent because they were convinced by the perpetrators that the victims were at fault, and if they spoke out they would be blamed and punished. They were shunned by society, because their abusers were 'respected people'. Happily, today they speak freely. They no longer live with misplaced shame and self-hatred.

    We must find ways to ensure that no child ever again is silenced by blame, shame, or fear of retribution for exposing evil. If children can speak and be heard, we can address these issues in a time frame that reduces doubt and question. Cognative Dissodance must not be permitted to deny children protection.
    Sceptic
    18th Mar 2019
    2:29pm
    Wrong again. He did not need to return to Australia to face trial.
    OlderandWiser
    21st Mar 2019
    7:16am
    Irrelevant, Sceptic. The point is that he fuelled public opinion against him by resisting.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    11:25pm
    OlderandWiser says Pell "resisted facing trial" The ABC reported that after Pell had stated that he was quite prepared to co-operate, he "voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault." Pell would have known that had he refused to co-operate nothing further could be done because Australia does not have an extradition treaty with Italy:

    https:www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-29/cardinal-george-pell-charged-sexual-assault-offenses/8547668

    Surely it is not unreasonable to expect those who are as convinced of Pell's guilt as they were of that of Lindy Chamberlain to have regard to well established facts before publicly posting irresponsible nonsense.

    And no, not only am I not a Catholic and not a friend of Pell's, my natural instinct, based entirely upon press reports which I do not trust, is to dislike the man. My concern is that the way the law works in Australia these days, nobody is safe from finding themselves in Pell's shoes at anytime, you included, OlderandWiser.
    maxchugg
    23rd Mar 2019
    11:25pm
    OlderandWiser says Pell "resisted facing trial" The ABC reported that after Pell had stated that he was quite prepared to co-operate, he "voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault." Pell would have known that had he refused to co-operate nothing further could be done because Australia does not have an extradition treaty with Italy:

    https:www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-29/cardinal-george-pell-charged-sexual-assault-offenses/8547668

    Surely it is not unreasonable to expect those who are as convinced of Pell's guilt as they were of that of Lindy Chamberlain to have regard to well established facts before publicly posting irresponsible nonsense.

    And no, not only am I not a Catholic and not a friend of Pell's, my natural instinct, based entirely upon press reports which I do not trust, is to dislike the man. My concern is that the way the law works in Australia these days, nobody is safe from finding themselves in Pell's shoes at anytime, you included, OlderandWiser.
    mike
    18th Mar 2019
    12:20pm
    Is Pell more guilty than Shorten. Shorten was accused of rapeing a 16 year old girl at a youth rally in 1986. (Covered in the Herald Sun) but the police did not proceed because of Shortens position. Yer the girl was adamant the offence took place. Yet the evidence against Pell was flimsy and vital evidence that would have shown he couldnt have done it was supresed. So why is Pell 8n Jail and Shorten and accused rapist likely to be our next PM.
    Dave R
    18th Mar 2019
    12:36pm
    The case against Shorten was dropped partly because there was no evidence and partly because his accuser was deemed to be mentally unstable.
    There appears to be no evidence in the case against Pell either but the accuser was deemed to be mentally sound so able to present a reliable account.
    As to the conviction itself I am unsure on that as IMO it did not pass the beyond reasonable doubt test. A previous jury had failed to reach a verdict probably because of that.
    Hoohoo
    21st Mar 2019
    6:31pm
    None of us know all the evidence so really, all we are giving is our opinion. WE DON"T KNOW.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    12:43pm
    'Cognitive dissonance " is accepting the long-ago version of events of one witness when twenty or so other witnesses say differently.

    No wonder nobody trust trick cyclists.... they truly live in a world of their own and see everything else as outside the pale... (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha)...
    Shelley53
    18th Mar 2019
    12:47pm
    Interesting that Pell elected to not be put in the stand where he could be cross-examined don't you think? When people come forward to report sexual abuse it takes great courage. And to report that abuse against such a powerful man would have been terrifying for the victims. And remember, this is the man who spent years covering up sexual abuse of children in his parish. My call....he's guilty!
    Sundays
    18th Mar 2019
    1:10pm
    I agree. We weren’t at the trial, and don’t have all the evidence. The Jury found him guilty. If he loses the appeal that should be the end of it. If he wins, he should retire because his lack of empathy towards victims as displayed by some of his comments makes him unfit for office.
    Triss
    18th Mar 2019
    3:19pm
    If he wins at appeal, Sundays, you can bet there are other accusations waiting in wings to keep him in jail.
    Hoohoo
    21st Mar 2019
    6:34pm
    Yes you'd think someone who is good & moral would've at least displayed sympathy for all the other victims, but instead, he made their lives even more miserable.
    Dollars over Respect?
    18th Mar 2019
    1:01pm
    Franky,
    Not everyone has a conscience! I have found this out rather late in my life too, unfortunately. Also there is the old truism: "Power Corrupts". Those lacking a conscience, who also hold positions of power, use it for their own purposes and gain boldness from systems where others are supposed to demonstrate (ie obliged by societal codes of behaviour) deference. The Church is an archaic system that must be updated from its Mediaeval practices and procedures - that is, if it hopes to remain relevant to today's believers. Deference is abhorrent to witness. Mutual respect is critical in a 'decent' functional society. Innocents - 'children' - must be 'taught' at an early age that they have a voice and the right to speak out against what is inherently wrong wherever they see it, regardless of who is the oppressor. Arrogance is a very common character trait shared by oppressors - they believe they are unanswerable to anyone. To quote a Biblical Proverb: "Pride (Arrogance) comes before a fall".
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    1:10pm
    None of those constitutes grounds for conviction....
    Hoohoo
    21st Mar 2019
    6:45pm
    Good insights, Dollars over Respect. As someone brought up in a strict, catholic family (with wonderful people as my parents) I can agree that as children we were not given a voice at all. "children should be seen & not heard" prevailed big time, both at home & at (catholic) school. We were not encouraged to think for ourselves, just follow the rules. It was looked down upon to question anything to do with the church, even innocent questions about catechism.

    This all amounted to one learning very early that you keep your thoughts to yourself, because punishment is just around the corner. I was whacked with a stick by the Principal in my first week of kindergarten.

    The church was considered the ultimate authority on everything. If you opposed it, you had to leave, which I did as soon as I became as adult & was able to make up my own mind. It wasn't easy going against all the brainwashing & guilt the church had laid on me.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    1:04pm
    We need, as a society, to be very wary of something that was brought out in the program of Kathleen Follbig - the convicted child killer. A learned person stated quite clearly that in such cases evidence was very hard to find and often there was none - so what are we to deduce from that?

    That an absence of evidence proves the crime?

    Furthermore - that learned person went on to say that 'benefit of doubt' = innocence of the accused - should not be afforded to a non-descript and extremely rare illness occurring several times in the same family. Point is - under our (purported) legal system, all benefit of any doubt must go to the defendant..... so that sleight of hand in seeking to reverse the burden of proof was just that - a classically neo-alt-left attempt to fundamentally alter the way our laws operate.

    At the end of the day - the entire case against Follbigg (think that's the correct spelling) was circumstantial - and bear in mind that another women was acquitted of a similar incident in a totally different court hearing.

    I have always, BTW, entertained doubts about Follbigg's conviction... though I could be wrong... perhaps the best thing to come out of it was that the lead detective involved took over training at the police academy (not the movie series but close) and we are now seeing more ethical and honest coppers coming on.
    KSS
    18th Mar 2019
    1:22pm
    Whilst it is right and proper that any abuser is tried and appropriately punished, there is also a need to ensure that the right people are convicted for crimes they actually did. There are several other unsafe convictions of priests from the Catholic church and some like Archbishop Philip Wilson have had their convictions overturned through the appeal process. Judge Ellis in this case stated:

    "The judge told the court Archbishop Wilson could not be convicted of a crime because the “Catholic Church has a lot to answer for in terms of its historical self-protective approach” to children alleging child sexual abuse by priests." (https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/catholic-church-has-a-lot-to-answer-for-philip-wilson-s-conviction-overturned-20181206-p50kqg.html).

    Another example is that of John Francis Tyrrell a Jesuit priest whose conviction was overturned last Friday: https://www.9news.com.au/2019/03/15/10/57/john-francis-tyrrell-conviction-quashed-christian-brother-news-victoria

    What these have in common with Cardinel Pell is that they were convicted on the corroborated evidence of a single complainant. They were clearly judged 'guilty'by association of their religion rather than a forensic look at the evidence which in all three cases is obviously suspect.

    You simply cannot convict someone because they are a priest and therefore assumed to be guilty even when innocent. The outcome for Cardinal Pell remains unknown, but it is clear from other evidence in his case, that what was alleged, the manner in which it was conducted and the location of the event simply doesn't make sense.
    KSS
    18th Mar 2019
    1:33pm
    "they were convicted on the corroborated evidencë"

    Oops that should be UNcoroborated evidence........
    The Care Bear.
    18th Mar 2019
    1:38pm
    This is probably a good time to examine the role of religion on society and individuals. Throughout history, civilisations have created Gods in an attempt to understand the understandable, from the most primitive tribes to our present times. Gods created in an attempt to control the weather, seasons, crops, fertility, conflicts. Most of the conflicts throughout history have been influenced or caused by religion in the name of one god or another, each one believing their god was better than the other and a promise of paradise when we die. if it make you a better person to believe in your god and helps you navigate your way through life, more power to you, but just realise it's just your belief, and it ain't necessarily so. The behavior of this church, in this instance is criminal, but let me just say every church if challenged will be found to be just as guilty of these crimes. If you find you cannot accept that your church has blinded you to the fact that they are peddling hope with no prospect of fulling that hope, then you are not alone. As it's often said "There are no atheists in foxholes.
    Triss
    18th Mar 2019
    3:31pm
    Agreed, SFR, it would be interesting to see the perception and people’s reliance on religion in 500 year’s time with all the science and technology they’ll be living with.
    The Care Bear.
    20th Mar 2019
    4:24pm
    In 500 years time there will be a new revised testament to make it more relevant for the times. More religions will emerge as their holy ones realise the dollar value of Faith Industry and increase the promise of paradise in the hereafter.
    Perhaps Aliens will visit us and share their Gods.
    Jolly
    18th Mar 2019
    2:11pm
    This controversy over Pell and others reminds me of things that happened many years ago to people of the catholic persuasion. I am not a catholic. But one time in the early '60's I was dating a catholic girl. One night I was at her place and the priest turned up for his weekly payment. Cash. In England, way back, the priests would harrass their flock for money, probably helped pay their wages. Anyway this night the local priest forced my girls mum to give him all her housekeeping for the following week. Not much in those days. But enough for the old man, when he found out, to do his lolly and give the old girl a good thrashing. My girl also told me that the priest also sexually assaulted her a number of times, in his house next to the church. So I am very wary of priests who say "I never did anything". And I will always believe anybody that tells me they have been assaulted. You only have to go back through history and see the despicable thing the catholic church members have done in the name of God. Not a catholic but an atheist!!
    Jolly
    18th Mar 2019
    2:17pm
    Further to the above. I fervently believe that the majority of Judges, Lawyers, Politicians are card carrying catholics. They will do anything to protect their brothers. It is about time all religions were forced to join the 21st century. To pay taxes, and provide openess.
    The Care Bear.
    18th Mar 2019
    5:42pm
    Amen to that.
    Eddy
    18th Mar 2019
    2:58pm
    What is all this rubbish about 'uncorroborated evidence' and 'reasonable doubt'. Just because someone does not leave fingerprints or DNA at a crime scene, or does not commit a crime before CCTV or a number of impeccable witnesses or, as in this case, an extended period of time has elapsed, does not mean the victim cannot be believed. It is up to the jury to decide whether they believe a witness or otrherwise. Then we come to 'reasonable doubt', what is it, there is no measuring tool, how does a member of a jury come to the conclusion that there is reasonable doubt or otherwise. All I can offer is what a judge instructed the jury I was on, reasonable doubt is in your own mind, each juryperson has to weigh it up and come to their own conclusion, the judge can offer no more guidance than that. Is Dr Pell guilty, yes, because 12 randomly selected persons empanelled on a jury, and after considering all the evidence, decided he was. Did Dr Pell actually commit the crimes for which he was found guilty, I do not know, I was not there at the time and I did not hear all the evidence, but then can I do not know for sure that Ned Kelly was guilty. Some people assert that Dr Pell is a scapegoat for all the failings of the church. One or two members of the jury may be swayed that way but unlikely all 12, and it was a unanimous verdict delivered after 5 days deliberation. By all means let the appeal process proceed and any legal errors be argued before the appeals bench. In the meantime let's not make irrational judgements based only on personal prejudice or misinformation.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    6:57pm
    Primary evidence and corroborating evidence - primary evidence is the complaint of the accuser.... corroborating evidence is exactly what it says... and it should be Law that no case can go forward with Substantial Corroborating Evidence (SCE).

    The reason the State will not do that? Because if it did the principal source of accusation - the police - would not be able to sustain cases, and thus the State would miss out on money and power over the individual.

    How many Aboriginals would not be in prison for assaulting police if police had to demonstrate substantial corroborating evidence, such as bruises, injuries, damage to uniform etc? How many traffic fines would never have gone ahead in the 'good old days' of just accuse 'em and take their money with the willing complicity of the 'courts', if SCE had been mandatory?

    That these kind of things continues to exist in remote towns is a travesty of justice.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    6:58pm
    Buggar - that's WITHOUT Substantial Corroborating Evidence... primary evidence does not equate to proof of guilt, and must never be permitted to do so.
    Hoohoo
    28th Mar 2019
    2:28am
    I wouldn't use that word "buggar" on this subject, TREBOR
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    3:21pm
    Something that many need to get in touch with is that, once the State donned the mantle of being the accuser (Crown V X, State v XX) the accused was immediately placed in a position of savage disadvantage not only in terms of resources available to mount a case, but in not having at his/her command the forces of law to thoroughly investigate. You may add to that the automatic prejudice in the minds of many that the State can do no wrong.

    Anyway - since this removed essentially any burden financial or otherwise from the REAL accuser - that accuser, by contrast, was handed a position of advantage and protection not enjoyed by the accused. Nowhere do we see this more in the abuse than in certain current legislations that permit a zero standard of proof based purely on claimed feelings... you know the social science types of 'laws' I am discussing.

    All of this works effectively to further and perpetuate the out-worn 'master (the state)/ servant (the citizen) concept, and is a very effective way of removing from any accused any real rights under law.

    Hence my suggestion that Legal Aid (three lies for the price of one) apply to both 'sides' equally - and that rather than the State being named in documents as the accuser - the accuser be so named. As it stands, the State has unlimited funds and resources - the accused only as much as he/she can afford.

    Under no circumstances should a single individual be forced to contend with the overwhelming power of the State in seeking a valid defence against accusation, and such a position as it now stands has dire implications for the proper rule of Law (as opposed to legislation and law as practiced without constraint and automatic first case referral to a constitution court that can decide if the law passed is actually valid within the context of Law) ....and for the rights of citizens.

    (that'll get 'em confused, Igor).....
    Eddy
    18th Mar 2019
    4:04pm
    You are right Trebor and Igor, you confused me on the first four reads. However you neglected to mention a few minor points. First the Crown has to prove their case beyond a 'reasonable doubt' the Defence does not. Second, any exculpatory evidence obtained by the Crown has to be given to the Defence, the Defence is not obliged to give the Crown any evidence whatsoever. Thirdly while the financial odds are usually stacked in favour of the Crown the evidentiary odds are clearly stacked in favour of the Defence. Fourthly,the accused rights are jealously guarded by the Crown, the victims rights are neglected.
    There may be more but my brain is hurting after trying to decipher your contribution to the debate.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    7:07pm
    Hmmm ... there are countless cases on the books where ex-culpatory evidence was never included and thus did not have to be given to the defence, and where it was not even looked for.

    'reasonable doubt' should be extended to 'any reasonable doubt' - which must go to the defendant....the problem is the yawning gap between theory and actual jurisprudence and protection of the rights of the accused... rights of the defendant are more honoured in the abuse than in the keeping, and for clear proof of that, look at the nonsense sometimes put forward by accusing police - not even worth laughing at as fiction - yet it is allowed to overbear clear evidence on behalf of the accused. Anyone with any experience of the courts will tell you that.

    How is it possible that the evidentiary odds are stacked in favour of the defence, when the defence in the very vast majority of cases, has no investigative powers or opportunity? It is a long-established reality that investigating police often fix on their target and then build the case around gaining a conviction - which they then see as a scalp in a truly psychopathic way, without any thought for anyone who is actually victimised by that kind of thing. Furthermore - an enormous amount of leeway is handed to the prosecution in allowing them to make inferences without evidence and so forth, and in doing so, create a false picture of the defendant.

    I know that off the top of the head blurb would make some heads ache.. but it is reality - just needs polishing.

    I'm not quite perfect, you know - I believe I did make a mistake some where..... some time.... now when was that? Igor - do we still have that trunk of records from....oooh.. was it 1965?
    Lewi
    18th Mar 2019
    5:06pm
    Pell is not guilty as a Christian leader he could not lie to God otherwise he be worse than the devil and hypcryte and I am sure he is not
    The Care Bear.
    18th Mar 2019
    5:50pm
    So tell me, what was his GOD doing while he and or his employees were sexually assaulting children? Being a Christian Leader doesn't mean anything except that he is a bigger hypocrite than most.
    perhaps he misunderstood the bible text "Suffer the children that come unto me".
    Could be as it was written by people that believed the earth was flat, burnt witches and would not eat meat on Fridays.
    Hawkeye
    21st Mar 2019
    11:51am
    Lewi, I hope your comment is tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.

    Because it's the lemmings that actually believe that sort of bs that gave these rock-spiders the power to get away with their actions for so many centuries.

    Gods were invented by humanity to explain the unexplainable. I think we have progressed well and truly beyond the point where they are no longer required (at least for thinking people anyway).
    And please don't bring up the "who made us?" question, because if you expect me to answer that then I expect you to answer "who made god?" (Hint - I already gave the correct answer to that in the previous paragraph)
    Cosmo
    18th Mar 2019
    5:06pm
    From personal experience as a victim (not related to sexual assault) I have no faith in the judicial system or especially in the ability of the police. I also have a lot of trouble with historic sexual assault cases of any type which go back decades and no material evidence is available and it becomes one person's word against the other. However, in this case it is the Catholic Church that have delayed, prevaricated, covered up and generally frustrated any cases going to court. In many cases the police have been involved in ensuring that any complaints do not see the light of day.
    Despite any doubts that I have about the verdict of this particular case and while I know the judge said any attempt at retribution against the Church should be avoided, we all know that Pell (Mr or Cardinal) has overseen the absolute denial of any impropriety by the Church, the movement of offending priests, the denial of justice to thousands of victims and wherever possible the minimisation of any compensation. For this reason alone I have no problem with Pell spending his last days in jail. Lets face it, if any other organisation ran the world's largest international paedophile ring, it would have been shut down years ago and the ring leaders incarcerated for much longer periods than Pell's sentence.
    The Care Bear.
    18th Mar 2019
    5:59pm
    The actions of the Church are completely logical when you realise it is only a commercial enterprise and as a business it must protect it's reputation. Believers will legitimize their belief in many bizarre ways, blame the victims, the legal institution, other religions, atheists, the devil, society etc. Anybody or institution except the obvious one...you are part of an organisation that preys on fallible people.
    TREBOR
    18th Mar 2019
    7:14pm
    Priests who victimised children should never have been protected - that church would have been far better served outing and ousting them immediately. They have only themselves to blame for not doing so- but instead offering perpetrators sanctuary by transferring them and so forth.

    I've never been a victim of sexual abuse myself - but my sisters have... my brother claimed he was, but we were in the same orphanage, a Catholic one, together and I never saw or experienced it. On the contrary, the nun teacher was a lovely lady and the priest was quite a nice person.

    Not all of them are paedophiles.. and we should be careful about spreading the blame too far. Again - my personal view is that Pell has been convicted on the suspicion that he aided and abetted cover-ups of real paedophiles in the church and under his 'command' - and again - that was not what he was tried for, and thus he should not have been convicted of direct abuse in itself.
    OlderandWiser
    21st Mar 2019
    7:09am
    You were lucky, Trebor. The abuse I witnessed in Catholic orphanages was horrendous - but more often physical and emotional abuse than sexual. The emotional abuse was the worst. Every single day nuns would scream abuse at the kids, calling them 'filthy urchins' and 'scum of the earth' and saying they had 'bad blood' and would 'end up criminals like their vile parents'. They kept them segregated from the wider community, claiming they 'were not fit for respectable society' and would 'infect good people with their filth'. There were good clothes available through donation but they dressed them in rags, claiming the decent clothes were 'too good for them' and they refused to give them good food that was grown o the property or donated, claiming 'that food would make them sick as their stomachs are not accustomed to it'.
    I did encounter one or two nice nuns and priests, but they were rare and they had a tough fight to do anything beneficial for the children.
    Hawkeye
    18th Mar 2019
    7:47pm
    It's not innocence that wins appeals, it's money to play the system.
    (Or to hire an expert at $25000 a day to play the system for you.)
    And the catholic church certainly has plenty of that to protect its banker.
    Cosmo
    18th Mar 2019
    8:11pm
    Trebor. Firstly my sincere sympathy for the period of your childhood that you and your siblings spent in an orphanage and the circumstances leading to that. I also understand your loyalty to those that kindly cared for you. However, three victims out of a family of four, while a small sample is pretty horrific and I can only hope that your brother and sisters overcame their aweful experiences.
    I agree that there are many priests who remained true to their faith but still there have been thousands of Catholic child victims in Australia, thousands in the USA and Ireland and Germany amongst the civilised nations that have had the courage to look into the issue. I just hate to think of the situation in South America and the Philippes. If thats not international paedophilia I don't know what is.
    The whole Church has dragged its feet on this for decades if not longer and as recently as this month the Pope again disappointed many around the world by his lack of decisive action on the matter. I totally respect your views on the issue, you have been much closer to it than me and I hope for all concerned that at last justice is served.
    JAID
    18th Mar 2019
    9:15pm
    It is fair to admit the possibility that Cardinal Pell is being crucified on the popular image of a church in sin; the coordinator of ethical principals so ignorant of its responsibilities that it denies them at will.

    I have no opinion as to guilt or innocence and prefer to await the result of the appeal.

    I respect that the current decision would have been made with good intention and may be a fair and accurate response to whatever happened or was reasonably seen to have happened. Whether or not an appeal sees things differently that respect is unlikely to change. Naturally the current technical guilt would be replaced and accepted as innocence.

    It would be a very good thing were there clear and absolute proof of innocence as the fewer instances of this abuse there may have been the better for everyone.

    Interesting thought that many bring up covering up to protect other clergy as a type of proof of guilt regardless of result. If there is proof of that surely it would be a fair cause for Police action but it has nothing material to do with the present crime and muddies the waters.
    JAID
    18th Mar 2019
    9:15pm
    It is fair to admit the possibility that Cardinal Pell is being crucified on the popular image of a church in sin; the coordinator of ethical principals so ignorant of its responsibilities that it denies them at will.

    I have no opinion as to guilt or innocence and prefer to await the result of the appeal.

    I respect that the current decision would have been made with good intention and may be a fair and accurate response to whatever happened or was reasonably seen to have happened. Whether or not an appeal sees things differently that respect is unlikely to change. Naturally the current technical guilt would be replaced and accepted as innocence.

    It would be a very good thing were there clear and absolute proof of innocence as the fewer instances of this abuse there may have been the better for everyone.

    Interesting thought that many bring up covering up to protect other clergy as a type of proof of guilt regardless of result. If there is proof of that surely it would be a fair cause for Police action but it has nothing material to do with the present crime and muddies the waters.
    GrayComputing
    19th Mar 2019
    3:45pm
    When any person, group or religion puts itself above the law even more bad things happen.
    Total freedom means total disregard for others
    ArtStone
    19th Mar 2019
    4:52pm
    Ms Sharman also needs to know that apart from Cognitive Dissonance which prevents older people (it seems) from accepting the verdict as true there is also something called False Memory Syndrome which can convict someone of a crime they did not commit! A victim's desire for vengeance and "tarring all catholic priests with the same brush" must also be taken into account!
    TREBOR
    20th Mar 2019
    12:30am
    Good point. Sometimes 'memories' are installed in the person's 'memory' during 'counselling'.


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