The Commissioner and the Choirboy

The anonymous former choirboy, Witness J, who falsely accused Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing him in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, after Mass on a Sunday morning in December 1996, has now made some revelations of his own that shed new light on the case. He has put his Curriculum Vitae up on the online employment networking site LinkedIn. At Pell’s trial in 2018, Judge Peter Kidd put a suppression order on publication of the complainant’s name but many in Victorian legal and media circles know his real identity and will find the CV contains an intriguing tale.

While much of the public debate among Pell supporters prior to his acquittal pointed to the strange determination of the Victoria Police’s hierarchy to pursue such an improbable case, the focus was on the two most recent commissioners, Graham Ashton and Shane Patton. Their efforts to persuade both the Victorian Parliament’s inquiry into child sexual abuse and the national news media that Pell was guilty of such a crime was anything but the pursuit of justice. It looked like a stitch-up from the start.

The choirboy’s CV reveals, quite inadvertently, that as well as having these two members of the police hierarchy on side, he enjoyed the support of a third one as well, someone who has so far avoided any place in the overall picture.

According to his CV, Witness J was unemployed for the entire time from March 2014 to June 2019 – a period which more than covers the timeline of his accusation to police, his evidence at committal hearings, the trial itself, and Pell’s conviction. However, after his evidence had done its work and put Pell in jail, his accuser was rescued from the dole queue and given a full-time job and a salary. The story behind this is better understood if it starts with the political background.

Simon Overland was appointed Victoria’s Deputy Police Commissioner in 2006. Following the debacle of the period when Christine Nixon was Chief Commissioner, the Brumby Labor government appointed Overland to replace her in 2009. However, after a report by the police ombudsman accused him of doctoring crime statistics to support Labor at a time when law and order had become a big election issue, Overland resigned in 2011. Gangland lawyer and secret police informer Nicola Gobbo in evidence to Victoria’s Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants (the Lawyer X commission) described Overland as being “evil, corrupt and dishonest” in his dealings with her, which led to frame-ups and lengthy prison sentences for various organized crime figures and associates, some who were guilty but others who were not.

In 2017, Overland gained the position of Chief Executive Officer of the City of Whittlesea, a local government council on Melbourne’s northern suburban outskirts. He held this position until December 2019, when the council voted to sack him. This happened at a time when publicity about the Royal Commission was rife and just a week before Overland was due to give evidence to it himself.

Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews was furious and immediately moved to take revenge on the council. He intervened first by firing his own responsible minister and intra-party factional rival, Adem Somyurek, and then appointing himself Minister for Local Government in his place. Premier Andrews then sacked the entire Whittlesea Council and replaced them with his own appointed administrators. This all happened within three months of Overland getting the chop.

In April 2020, on the same day the High Court made its unanimous decision to acquit Pell, Andrews made a public statement displaying the contempt he had for the outcome: “I make no comment about today’s High Court decision. But I have a message for every single victim and survivor of child sex abuse: I see you. I hear you. I believe you.” Andrews never divulged why he was so personally affronted.

The connection between Pell’s accuser and this whole political sewage pit came in June 2019, when Overland used his position as Whittlesea CEO to find a job for the then long-term unemployed Witness J. According to his CV on LinkedIn, the former choirboy was initially given the rather fuzzy title of “Contract Support Officer”. He later moved on to another position at the council, which I will not record here for legal reasons.

Given Overland’s track record of persuading police informants to make false accusations against public identities that have landed the latter with lengthy prison sentences, there is a connection here that cries out for further investigation.

When she delivered her final report in November last year about Lawyer X and other police informants, Royal Commissioner Margaret McMurdo recommended that, because Overland and several former detectives had corrupted Victoria’s criminal justice system, they should be referred to a special investigator. This recommendation needs updating. Overland and Witness J should both be questioned further about the propriety of the latter’s Whittlesea council employment: who approached who to make it happen and when, who else was involved, what kind of deal was done? In short, was it a reward to the choirboy for providing the bogus testimony that jailed George Pell?

 

Keith Windschuttle is Quadrant‘s editor and the author of The Persecution of George Pell, which can be purchased here

36 comments
  • Ian MacKenzie

    Shane Patton, Graeme Ashton, Ken Lay, Simon Overland, Christine Nixon….
    How far back would you have to go to find a Victorian Police Chief Commissioner you could trust?

  • Simon

    The plot really does sicken. Victoria is no better than a third-world banana republic, with a thug called Andrews running it.

    How can such a state exist here?

  • STD

    While Cardinal Pell’s reputation as Australia’s most senior Catholic as well as arguably Australia’s most senior religious figure was being hung drawn and quartered in public by the Marxist media ,the progressive political agenda to further destroy the influence of Christianity on Australian culture was being implemented, Alive late term abortions, Euthanasia as well as the other charade , that of gay marriage.
    Thanks Keith, I have long wanted to know why both Nixon and Overland were given to resignation.
    Make no mistake I believe the royal commission into child sexual abuse was justified but there was political expediency at hand here also.

  • norsaint

    Fascinating stuff Keith, well done.
    If the psychopath gets his dictatorship passed into perpetual law this week, can the last Victorian out turn off the lights please.

  • pgang

    norsaint, if we are to believe the polls then most Melbournians love their dictator. I guess he offers them a woke sense of moral superiority, which seems to countermand all other exigencies these days. How bored we must be. Gives new meaning to the phrase, ‘bored to death’.
    This article makes wonder whether such endemic political corruption has always been a part of Australian culture. It’s not as if we have ever been the most alert group of people on the planet.

  • pmount

    Thanks Keith. Great and very important work! Much appreciated!

  • call it out

    Your courage and persistence is important, Keith.

  • Biggles

    Ian McKenzie. Mick Miller was probably the last. He was reputed to be a straight-shooter with an eye to nipping corruption in the force inn the bud.

  • tommbell

    just when you thought the stench couldn’t get any worse.

  • john2

    Wow! Simply. Wow!
    Quite apart from the issues around Overland et al, the story around the Whittlesea Council demonstrates again how all roads seem to lead back to Dan.
    How long can this go on? How bad do things have to get in VIC before enough frogs in the pot realise it is coming to the boil?
    Rhetorical questions, unfortunately.
    Here’s a real question demanding an answer, though:
    Why is the Morrison Govt doing nothing and even saying nothing about the Andrews pandemic supercharged powers bill that is almost certain to pass this week?
    I can only surmise that the federal govt has no power under the constitution to do anything about it (ie it is formally impotent to act to intervene). Even if that is the case, the Andrews bill in the hands of Andrews the man is so dangerous that surely Morrison and the members of his govt would be ringing the alarm bells out on the hustings in VIC.
    Is there no other guarantor of freedom within our liberal democratic system? If not, we are now witnessing an epoch-making test of the integrity of our system of government, and finding it grievously wanting.
    Or is it me who is being alarmist?

    • Roger Franklin

      John, you write in error: “Why is the Morrison Govt doing nothing and even saying nothing about the Andrews pandemic supercharged powers?”

      Oh, but the Prime Minister HAS said something.

      Quizzed last week by 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, he replied that the legislation is “entirely a matter for the Victorian parliament.”

      Not since Pontius Pilate has a leader washed his hands with such brazen aplomb.

  • Peter Smith

    When you see the kind of police thuggery that we have seen in Victoria in recent times then you know that something is amiss at the top. The fish rots from the head down.

  • wstarck

    How better to assure that Witness J remains careful about anything he might say regarding the Pell trial, than to buy his ongoing caution with a well paying salary for an undemanding job followed by a comfortable pension.

  • wdr

    Earlier this year, Daniel Andrews injured his back and was in bed for nearly three months with injuries on medical leave. However, he continued to receive around $140,000 from his salary- he is the highest paid Premier in Australia. Before Daniel Andrews, the only people to be paid $140,000 for lying in bed were high class prostitutes.

  • colin_jory

    Keith, this is a splendid exercise in joining dots. Given what is shown, it would be absurd to claim that “Witness J” (whose real name is known to prettywell anyone who has cared to delve) obtained employment with Whittlesea Council otherwise than through political connections, as a reward for his lying testimony in the Pell saga. There remain, however, more dots to be joined, particularly regarding the tripartite interactions of Witness J and family members and associates of his, with Broken Rites and the Victorian police.

    Regarding Daniel Andrews’ none-too-subtle defamations of Cardinal Pell, it should be born in mind that Scott Morrison has been at least as bad. After the guilty verdict returned by the second jury in February 2019, even though it was manifest from what had been said during the March 2018 Committal hearing, and from what little further had become public from the secret trials themselves, that the verdict was absurd, Morrison expressed no doubts. Rather, he made clear by his statement that “I respect the fact that this case is under appeal, but it is the victims and their families I am thinking of today”, and by his expression of satisfied confidence that the Cardinal would imminently be stripped of his Order of Australia, that he was pleased with the verdict. This was despite the fact that persons as diverse as outstanding crime reporter John Silvester; Pell’s long-time theological and political adversary Fr Frank Brennan, SJ; and Andrew Bolt — plus many, many others competent to judge — publicly expressed disbelief in the rationality of the verdict.

    When in August 2019 the Victorian Appeals Court majority upheld the second jury’s verdict, Morrison said precisely the same again, in the same tone of confident satisfaction. This was regardless of the fact that the dissenting judgment of Justice Marcus Weinberg was manifestly far more impressive and legally rational than the majority finding. When in April 2020 a full bench of the Australian High Court unanimously acquitted Pell, deliberately echoing Weinberg’s arguments, Morrison, while stating that the Court’s finding “must be respected”, made clear his personal contempt for the judgment by, like Andrews, expressing no congratulations to the Cardinal nor any regret for the hideous injustices done to him, but rather declaring that his “thoughts” were “always with” those who would feel “great hurt” from the judgment.

    Generally, non-Catholic Pentecostalists are not virulently anti-Catholic these days, but Morrison shows every sign of being an exception. His statements and attitudes regarding Cardinal Pell reek of old-style, visceral anti-Catholic bigotry. As for the far more overt anti-Catholicism of the professedly Catholic Daniel Andrews, anyone who thinks this is anomalous given Andrews’ Jesuit education must be ignorant of just how “progressive”, and thus antipathetic to traditional Catholic and Christian beliefs, has been religious education in the Australian Jesuit schools (and very many other Catholic schools) for the past half-century.

  • guilfoyle

    My memory is not clear, but wasn’t there some quite considerable criticism of the Victorian Police in the Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse -by a commissioner (can’t remember the name – I think, female), who seemed to not have an agenda? Is there any connection between the failure of the Police in Victoria regarding investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse and the Pell charges as a deflection/scapegoat? After all, to my mind, Pell was clearly the one person who took a stand against the institutional abuse and implemented measures designed to address the issues – twenty years before the Royal Commission implemented measures and compensation almost identical. And those prelates who seemed to do nothing while the predators abused trust on their watch, who were more acceptable to the modernist mind because of their more ‘liberal” views, seemed to escape media criticism, or indeed, any scrutiny at all. And does anyone remember Justice Yeldham in the Royal Commission in NSW and the connection there with Knox School, where he was on the Board, the subsequent revelations of paedophiles at Knox and the police failure to investigate and prosecute him? And who remembers Franka Arena and Deidre Grusevin and their accusations? They were ridicule by the media and called “homophobic” etc. Were they correct? – Are we talking networks here?

  • Ian MacKenzie

    Biggles – wow Mick Miller was 1977 to 1987, a generation ago. That’s a lot of duds since.
    wdr – the difference is that nobody would call Dan “high class”.

  • Michael Waugh

    STD : was the Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse necessary ? Or was it a sop to those who hated the Church ? I know Gillard included other institutions, but it would have been too obviously anti-Catholic if she hadn’t. Why make it about “institutions” ? The vast bulk of children abused are abused in their homes by fathers, step-fathers, uncles, parents best friends, older siblings, step-siblings etc.. Such victims necessarily suffer much more profound emotional and psychological damage of course because it is in the home, the inner-most “sanctuary”. Such victims are not given a penny by the scheme set up following the Royal Commission. If society were genuinely interested in investigating child sexual abuse, it would include the area where it most occurs and where the damage is the greatest.
    I would also confidently argue that Pell’s compassion ( and that of the man he appointed, Peter O’Callaghan QC) resulted in a flood of claims that must have included fraud and exaggeration at unsustainable levels : the main insurers in compensation schemes for physical and mental injuries (cars, work, medical negligence etc) collapsed or would have collapsed in Victoria and NSW but for increasing levels of safeguards against fraud and exaggeration, safeguards that have been set aside in the case of claims of sexual abuse, even claims in the distant past. The lack of such safeguards make it a fraud’s charter.
    May I add my thanks to Keith Windschuttle for his hardwork and great courage in this scandal. More strength to your arm Keith !

  • Pablo07

    PM clearly is not a PM of all Australians, least of all for Victorians. Would new pandemic laws allow for unvaccinated to be detained for along time? Camps seem to be in the process of construction close to the freeway in northern suburbs. Still just a matter for Vic version of Caligula and his cronies?
    And when it comes to vaccine mandates: how to have it and to not call it “mandate”, from someone fathering “no jab no pay”, a good lesson for us all, how little it is from taking little freedoms to tyranny.

    N.B. If connecting the dots, is there any connection of Card. Pell’s trials (bar the final, High Court) with JRoberts’s case, now, 20 years later, waiting for a retrial?

  • Patrick McCauley

    Brilliant. Witness J defamed and made liars of all victims of childhood sexual abuse. It has become much harder for ‘survivors’ to ‘prove’ historical childhood sexual abuse – since the outrage against Cardinal Pell was perpetrated. Rather than a ‘believe all victims of sexual abuse’ … it has instilled a widespread belief amongst ordinary people that such victims are all liars, cheats and thieves.

  • DougD

    Victoria a political sewerage pit indeed.
    There are a few more dots to be joined between Victoria Police senior officers and Premier Andrews.
    Has Andrews heard, seen and believed the woman who alleged Victorian Labor luminary Shorten raped her when both were young? Victoria Police didn’t believe her. They didn’t charge Shorten.
    Evidence last week to IBAC was that senior Victorian police blocked the investigation of fraud squad detectives into the Labor Red Shirt rorters. And the ABC previously reported that then Deputy Commissioner Patton not only said the Labor rorters wouldn’t be prosecuted but also that ” those 16 members of parliament have been exonerated” – so not a blemish on any of their characters.
    Some Victoria Police took a respectful knee to illegal BLM marchers in June 2020. No protesters were arrested. The riot squad and mounted police crushed a much smaller illegal anti-government protest at Victoria Markets later in 2020 and over 70 were arrested. Police enforcement of the Andrews lock-down rules continued into 2021 with police firing rubber bullets into protesters, just like the Israeli army does to Palestinian protesters, but without howls of outrage from the Victorian human rights lobby.
    The legislation empowering the Lawyer X Special Investigator to start work is still to be passed, over a year after Royal Commissioner’s recommendation. The bill shows the Andrews government thinks that Special Investigator Nettle, a former High Court, Victorian Supreme and Court of Appeal judge, needs to be subject to the Victorian Inspectorate in case he exceeds his powers. No opportunity there for Victoria Police to repeat the litigation tactics they used, at taxpayers expense, to try to suppress publication of investigation of the Lawyer X scandal, is there? And Nettle can only investigate: if he thinks any senior police should be charged, he has to pass the file over to the DPP. She then must decide whether to prosecute. How long do you guess it will be before the first Lawyer X accused fronts even a magistrate’s committal hearing?
    But it would be wrong, wouldn’t it, to suggest delay does not upset senior police or the cooperative relationship they appear to have with the Andrews government.

  • Adam J

    This article has certainly generated some reactions!
    But I am afraid that the conundrum is easily solved: the police have what is called ‘discretion’. Now, regardless of what you might think this means, what it means in reality is that police can do whatever they want, whenever they want, or they can not. It’s entirely up to them you see. And if they should be found guilty anyway than they will get the government to bail them out or just get some more money from speeding tickets.
    And this has been just another form of stupid corruption that has developed in Western countries but especially in Australia: police that are not professionals, are not lawfully constituted law enforcement agencies with legally clear and enforceable rights and responsibilities. Instead we have armed-to-the-teeth, government-sanctioned, legalised bandits and mercenaries that owe ‘nothing to no-one’, the same as any rogue.
    George Pell should have begun a private prosecution against those responsible for this abuse of power. Fortunately that option remains open in Victoria unlike WA, where the Liberal Party decided that people shouldn’t have the sacred Anglo right to access their own criminal justice system. Just another area ceded to the nanny state. Of course, the odds of a private prosecution being allowed (allowed!) in Victoria is very low, so a suit for malicious prosecution should have been commenced. Even though it won’t be painful enough to the true criminals, it would help place the truth on record.
    The entire edifice of policing and the rule of law have been eroded away since the 1970s (surprise!), and especially since 2001. The law is not something that the police enforce, its something they may investigate if they choose. Until Conservatives stand up for a legally-accountable, professional police force, nothing will change.

  • Ceres

    Fascinating forensic work from you Keith. D. Andrews has his evil tentacles spread far and wide, and corruption at all levels in Victoria, is the name of the game.
    Hope this latest Overland revelation grows MSM legs to ensure another nail in this tyrant’s coffin. He has presided over so much destruction and mayhem in Victoria in his 6 years, in fact there is absolutely nothing positive I can think of.

  • Elizabeth Beare

    Ceres, the MSM will studiously ignore this admirable work of Keith’s and of others too who have traced through the tale of Cardinal Pell’s persecution. But where is the Victorian Liberal Party in all of this? A democracy will descend into corruption as will any other political system if there is no genuine opposition on the case and if the press is captured, as is the case on this issue as on many others that concern due process and real justice.

  • DougD

    Ceres – “Hope this latest Overland revelation grows MSM legs to ensure another nail in this tyrant’s coffin.” If only. The Age had one report of the IBAC evidence about senior police blocking the Red Shirts investigation. Since then, nothing, no follow-up stories, no opinion pieces, nothing … But that’s an “Independent always” mast head for you.

  • DUBBY

    I don’t see any mention of the Vatican Bank business in all of this.

  • Lonsdale

    Yes, as noted by Elizabeth Beare, where is the Liberal party?

  • norsaint

    Michael Waugh – 15th November 2021

    ” The vast bulk of children abused are abused in their homes by fathers, step-fathers, uncles, parents best friends, older siblings, step-siblings etc.. ”
    I think you can leave fathers out of that list Michael. That is merely feminist propaganda, useful for the involuntary divorce mills – aka “family courts” – whose raison d’être is simply to remove children from their fathers.

  • lbloveday

    Looking for Witness J’s name, I read this:
    .
    “Milligan’s portrait of Witness J contains one intriguing but unresolved piece of information: his encounter with Pell was not his only run in with an abuser priest”.
    .
    It was dated May 12, 2020, over a month after the HCA decision, but the likes of the author, David Hardaker, ex-ABC, now Crikey, never give up with their slimy wording.

    May 12, 2020

  • STD

    Micheal Waugh, the Marxist media focus was squarely aimed at the Catholic Church. Catholics predominantly made up Bob Santamaria’s ‘ The Movement’.
    In my opinion if the the Royal Commission was really a fair dinkum attempt to change how such things were handled, it should have looked at the role government’s of all persuasions played in concert with the Church’s, in the historic handling of institutional abuse.
    George Pell’s Melbourne Response was a fair dinkum attempt to recognise and signalled an evolutionary change in how the Church dealt with these matters.
    The media and political left were really peeved with Pell because he sort to call out fraud and rorting where it was happening. He also sort to limit compensation so as not to bankrupt the institution itself, this was perceived as a callous act by the Marxist forces who’s real concern was to diminish and disempower to the point of irrelevance the Catholic Church and her influence on wider society.
    In my experience people will act like animals ( lie) given the chance.
    Oh and George Pell is not left wing or Marxist ,that’s why they targeted him.

  • Peter OBrien

    There is also the case of Ralph Blewitt and the AWU Workplace Reform Association scam. Blewitt was told, by Victoria Police, in Jan 2017 that he would ‘very soon be charged’. But, despite Blewitt confessing, Victorian police failed to follow through because they determined there was ‘little prospect of a conviction. That Blewitt promised to subpoena witnesses such as Julia Gillard in his defence might have had something to do with that decision. Or am I being too cynical?

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    ‘He also sort to limit compensation so as not to bankrupt the institution itself, this was perceived as a callous act by the Marxist forces who’s real concern was to diminish and disempower to the point of irrelevance the Catholic Church and her influence on wider society.’
    Not so.
    Pell set the compensation at that given by the Commonwealth for victims of crime.
    Remember this was back in the mid 90’s, about a quarter of a century ago.
    The Commonwealth was prepared to give victims $50,000, a goodly sum at that time.
    Aboriginal people were however only allowed $25,000.
    This discrimination was corrected by Pell, who ignored it, setting the bar for everyone at the higher Commonwealth compensation.
    Today in the free country of Victoria, a quarter of a century later, its only $70,000.
    http://victimsofcrime.com.au/
    It would seem that the secular authority are happy to cap their expenditure.
    It was notable that not all claims were believed, back then.
    After the Pell case that was wise in hindsight, although the defensive tactic was seen to be harsh.
    Now they are believed and a low bar is given to allow compensation.
    So be it.
    Child abuse is now recognised as being a major injury.
    That means some free loaders and the solicitors and reporters that feed them, will make money and notoriety.
    The latter may even make ratings.
    However if the CC is actually founded by Christ, who claimed to be the son of god, they will not prevail.
    Pell is a climate skeptic.
    A vast international audience followed the Pell saga and the progress of the Australian legal system, so called into disrepute.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/06/climate-skeptic-cardinal-george-pell-cleared-of-all-charges-abuse-conviction-overturned-by-the-australian-high-court/
    Pell called out the dismal science of global warming, advised by the leading geologists in Australia, also seen as pariahs by the secular press.
    Not everyone that disagrees with the CC is a Marxist.
    A large majority of recent arrivals to Australia are not even Christian.
    The fact that Pell stood up to his tormentors showed courage.
    The same courage he displayed by opening this can of worms last century, before the police or secular authorities acted.
    The fact that he called out the Vic police and their failure to act on child abuse in the early days, did not help in his relationship with them
    But for the attacks, particularly by Milligan and the ABC, with their resultant resolution, the CC could not have had any child attend a Catholic School in Australia.
    The next time someone is unfairly attacked by the present generation of ABC journalists, there needs to be a system set up of automatic crowd funding, no more blind trusts.
    I hope the Senate asks some hard questions of the ABC.
    Morrison’s view, that you must not take on the ABC before an election,is born in weakness.
    Surely he has finally worked out that he is the target.
    They are after him anyway, nothing satisfies.
    Putting an ex Fox news executive on the board changes nothing.
    The board acts impotent.
    It values independence, without meriting it.
    All the other members of his party so far deposed, are just part of the collateral path to him.
    Now if the ABC really wanted to, it could start interviewing some of those who thought things were a bit
    unusual in the City of Whittlesea.
    In the meanwhile, as Pell quotes in his second journal, words to the effect ,time is the servant of truth.
    If the ABC will not blow the Pell travesty open, then someone else will, in time.
    However if its not the ABC, examining its own failings, it will lose its societal contract.
    As Ita could have put it, it is actually a problem of Trust.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    Lewis P. Buckingham–God, when used without an article, is a proper noun. You may not believe in Him, but His name should be capitalised. I would capitalise the names of gods that I do not believe in.

  • Sydgal

    Thank you Keith for this intriguing piece. It makes me wonder about Louise Milligan’s opening chapter in her book ‘Cardinal’ re meeting Witness J at an RSL Club where he was ‘working the bar…. a few shifts to fill in while he’s doing his university exams.’

    Ibloveday: re the David Hardaker Crikey piece and the other priest who Milligan says J alleges abused him, Milligan got the surname wrong in one of her earlier editions of ‘Cardinal’ and this was corrected in the 2019 edition. Interestingly, the new name does not appear on the Broken Rites website.

    I was always surprised by the level of political commentary regarding the case. It is very interesting to see who was involved in the launch of some of the high profile books over the last few years – MP Martin Foley launched Milligan’s ‘Cardinal’ and MP Paul Edbrooke attended Lucie Morris-Marr’s event for ‘Fallen’ which was launched by Chrissie Foster. Regarding Premier Daniel Andrews tweet ‘I see you. I hear you. I believe you’ the day of the High Court decision,  this was retweeted by a number of MPs, including the former Attorney-General of Victoria! Independent MP Fiona Patten (leader of the Reason Party and co-founder of the Eros Association) was outside the County Court on 13 March 2019, and gave an interview on the sentencing of Cardinal Pell to Channel 9  – she felt ‘vaguely disappointed that 3 years and 8 months may not have been sufficient to really meet the wishes of the survivors’. At the Aug 2019 Appeal, she tweeted to admire the poster ‘Justice for Witness J’ as displayed by members of Care Leavers Australasian Network. Patten also includes the following statement on her website re the High Court decision in April 2020 ‘It is with great disappointment that I note the High Court of Australia’s decision in the matter of George Pell this morning. In my view, justice has not been served in this case. Australians know the real truth about George Pell. No amount of holy water can wash the stain of child sexual abuse away from the Catholic Church.’

    Regarding the Redress Scheme, I don’t understand why reports from the Royal Commission estimated 60,000 applicants but it seems like the number as at March 2021 is about 10,000. I see in an ABC March 2018 story, Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch ‘promised to push the Federal Government to expand the national redress scheme to cover physical and psychological abuse suffered by children in institutions as well as sexual abuse.’ A 265 page report on the 2 year review of the scheme was released a few months ago.

  • Michael Waugh

    Norsaint : I have no doubt that there are numerous false claims in the Family Court.
    Sydgal : the Federal Govt redress scheme is miserly. It was capped at $150,000 (the same as the Catholic Church’s cap at that time). However, it was not nearly as generous as the Church’s scheme. It used a system of categories that had the effect of severely limiting payouts. (Especially in light of governmental miserliness, it is astonishing how the media refuses to recognise the Church’s generosity over 25 years). The big payouts are in common law negligence claims outside the schemes. The propaganda has permitted claimants to make assertions of Churchmen covering up assaults to establish common law liability. Where the Church is the defendant, it is perceived by its lawyers that liability will be assumed by most juries and probably most judges. The Pell scandal (ie the disgraceful way an innocent man was treated) is emblematic of the zeitgeist.

  • John Wetherall

    Great reporting Keith Windshuttle. Plus the comments above are excellent. It is sad to realise that while the Left controls Victorian politics, and in particular the current Victorian Premier (or is that the Great Panjandrum himself). What is wrong with victorians?

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