The full bench of the High Court of Australia has reserved its decision on Catholic Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for historical child sex crimes. This was after two days of hearing arguments from Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions and Pell’s legal team
This is Pell’s last avenue of appeal after Victoria’s Supreme Court of Appeal upheld his conviction and six-year prison sentence in a 2 to 1 decision.
Pell’s two trials at the County Court of Victoria and the appeals process is about the facts and evidence of the case, whether the jury verdict could return a guilty verdict beyond all reasonable doubt.
The Culture War Battle
But outside the court, the case represents another battle in Australia’s long-running culture war. The Catholic Church has been a hated institution by the left and media in Australia.
The cases of child sexual abuse carried out by Catholic priests and in Catholic institutions has been used to diminish the church’s standing in the community and reduce the influence of its teachings in our society
News Corp’s Andrew Bolt an agnostic believes Pell is innocent and the victim of an anti-Catholic witch hunt where he has always been the biggest target. Pell has been a staunch conservative in debates about the church modernising
Bolt’s former Insiders sparring partner David Marr has been one of Pell’s biggest critics for the past 20 years. He has worked for the ABC, the Fairfax press and now the Guardian and leading the public and media anti-Catholic charge which has flooded the press for the past 30 years.
Before Victoria Police investigated and laid the charges against Pell in 2013 Marr published a Quarterly Essay on Pell called ‘The Prince‘ exploring the influence Pell has been able to have and his constant ascendancy and protection in the church hierarchy.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Recently at the Adelaide Writers’ Week, David Marr stated that George Pell is viewed as a hero to those on the right in the culture wars, clearly still in that culture mindset himself. But in a Guardian column on Tuesday Marr conceded, and probably fears that Pell will walk free after the High Court appeal.
The gaping holes of the case have been widely reported. Not only is it just the compliant’s word against Pell’s, but witnesses testified that Pell could not have abused those two boys after Sunday mass as he would have been out the front of the cathedral greeting parishioners.
The guilty verdict was reached due to the ‘compelling’ testimony of the complainant. Legal opinion has shifted now that the complainant’s testimony his demeanour in the witness box does not and should not equate to the elimination of reasonable doubt.
Pell’s Cultural War Crimes
For many of Pell’s critics, being on the wrong side of modernity makes them believe he is automatically guilty of crimes that he has been accused of and at present convicted of.
The fact that international legal expert opinion has stated that the standard of beyond reasonable doubt has not been met in this case does not make them question at all their Pell guilty pedophile hypocrite mantra.
Pell has never bowed down to political correctness, the LGBT agenda and climate change alarmism. The decades-long persecution of him has much to do with him being the wrong side of progressivism and equality. The wrong groupthink is a deep crime for the left.
Religious freedom is also a big target for the left. They fear religious freedom and want the state to encroach on all citizens for holding traditional biblical views. Look at Canada where if you do not say the correct pronouns you face a fine, possibly criminal proceedings. You can apparently have your values, beliefs and are free to worship so long as you do not advocate or live according to those values.
What the left fails to grasp or do not mention in the cases of past church abuse or other institutional abuse is the elephant in that abuse within institutional settings is overwhelmingly homosexual in nature. It is something the likes of David Marr will never mention because it is politically incorrect to say so.
As the Jeffrey Epstein, Jimmy Saville scandals have revealed institutional child sexual abuse is rampant in Hollywood, the entertainment industry and in elite circles. Those institutions have not seen anywhere near enough as much scrutiny as the Catholic Church and other organised religions.
Miscarriage of Justice?
Peter West in Quadrant magazine recently stated, “the vituperation towards Lindy Chamberlain was as nothing compared to the campaign against Cardinal Pell.”
If Pell is successful in his appeal his conviction it will be one of the worst miscarriages of justice in Australian history. If the two day High Court hearing is any indication his conviction could very well be quashed.
Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC told the High Court the abuse period against the boys of five or six minutes was not a specific timeframe, arguing that events in the cathedral were fluid.
This throws into even further doubt about how Pell could have found not only the time but the opportunity to carry out the abuse undetected and without others knowing they were missing. The Justices questioned Kerri Judd QC on the timeframes in a rigorous manner.
The High Court Justices were also critical that the appeal justices viewed the video evidence of the complainant, not just read a transcript as they should have just interpreted the facts of the case, not taken into account the complainant’s demeanour.
The ramifications of Pell walking free would raise significant questions about the decision of Victoria Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute this case. The questions about political motives and bias in bringing forward the case would certainly need to be investigated.