This Was a Fair Trial?

CARDINAL George Pell has been found guilty after a re-trial in which the jury did not get to see his accuser testify in the flesh. Instead they heard his evidence reprised from the first trial, whose jury voted 10-2 for acquittal. This time the vote to convict was unanimous.

The likelihood of an appeal succeeding be as it may, there can be no doubt years of pre-trial publicity put the defence at a disadvantage. Below, just a few of factors that may have coloured perceptions when the case actually went to court.

The ABC reports the “social media backlash” after a Sydney mural depicting George Pell and Tony Abbott as newlyweds is vandalised.

The ABC again…


…and again from the national broadcaster

The Age‘s then-editor at Andrew Holden first blamed “hackers” for this travesty, which appeared on the newspaper’s Facebook page in 2015. A subsequent apology was somewhat more opaque, conceding an unnamed someone “inadvertently posted a story”.

Rush-released by Melbourne University when charges were imminent, the hatchet job by the ABC’s Louise Milligan was withdrawn from sale within weeks, but only in Victoria.

Author Louise Milligan (right) enjoyed a friendly chat with magistrate Belinda Wallington and ABC radio’s Jon Faine. Wallington would subsequently send Pell to a Supreme Court trial after a committal at which Milligan testified.

Ms Milligan thanks the universe for making her the journalist she is.

The ABC illustrates a news report on Cardinal Pell’s ill health.

Q&A guest Josh Zepps asserts “if there is a higher court, which the Church seems to believe in, Pell is going to have his day”. If you watch the clip via the link above, pay particular attention to the tweets the ABC chose to flash across the bottom of the screen.

Fourteen years after the event, a standard-issue ABC headline



3 thoughts on “This Was a Fair Trial?

  • lloveday says:

    Two juries hear/see exactly the same evidence (apart from maybe some body language) from the crucial witness, the accuser, and come to very different conclusions, 2-10 ( or 6-6.. is the hung jury split disclosed?) and 12-0!

  • Les Kovari says:

    The modern day Judas and his cohort Pontius Pilate have had their day but why in this country. Everything bad these days seems to happen here in Australia.

  • thepm says:

    There has been widespread talk of a 10-2 split on the first trial but I have not seen any original source on this. How would anyone know? Juries in Australia are not polled and their deliberations are secret.

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