QED

Ignore the High Court, Louise Milligan Knows Best

Author Louise Milligan enjoyed a friendly chat with magistrate Belinda Wallington on ABC radio. Wallington would subsequently send Pell to a Supreme Court trial after a committal at which Milligan testified

If you want a true sounding of the depths to which the trade of journalism and the vocation of writing in our country have fallen I suggest you can do no better than listen to or read the recent interview and transcript of Louise Milligan, the much-feted anti-Pell fanatic, on a podcast called The Garrett.

The Garrett is produced in Melbourne by a lady named Astrid Edwards, who interviews “writers on writing”. However, if you examine her website you will notice that the writers are overwhelmingly women and the writing is overwhelmingly leftist stock-in trade. And if you subtracted from the podcast’s interview catalogue those which deal with either feminist, black- or Islamic-grievance or climate change, you would be left with, well… Richard Fidler. He is the author of a gem of a book about the Byzantines and his undogmatic and agreeable presence on Ms Edwward’s site is as anomalous as is his presence on the ABC’s airwaves. The explanation for the narrow range of the podcast’s pre-occupations is obvious enough. The website says it has “ongoing partnerships with the State Library of Victoria, Writers Victoria and RMIT University.” Alas, these days, what good thing ever comes out of an institution with “Victoria” or “Melbourne” in its name?

Remember, too, that most of The Garret‘s subjects have probably already been given their complimentary promotional tour at tax-payers’ expense by the ABC leviathan before they sat down to talk with her. In other words, The Garrett is just another of the vast number of state-funded or state-affiliated organs whose function is to sustain the Left’s stifling overlordship of every aspect of Australian cultural and political life. You know the ones I am referring to; the ones that get all of the government grants and award each other all of the prizes.

But don’t let that prevent you listening to the Milligan episode. You will learn much about Milligan and about her employer, our national broadcaster.

 

THE High Court judgment which set aside the Victorian Court of Appeal’s upholding (with Weinberg J in vigorous dissent) of Pell’s conviction and the unmistakable language of stern reproof in which that judgement was written don’t seem to have signified much of anything to Ms. Milligan. Rather, the High Court has taught her nothing about either the fundamental tenets of fair reporting or the criminal law. Both the woman and the ABC are unteachable. Why do I say that? Let me take you to the transcript. First, this bit (with my highlighting):

I mean, the bottom line is, whatever the High Court found, a five-year Royal Commission went through thousands of pages of documents, heard countless hours of evidence, and subjected that to forensic scrutiny, and it found that he knew about some of the worst paedophiles in Australian history.

Now, not just paedophile priests. He knew about some of the worst paedophiles in Australian history, who happened to be priests. And after his knowledge, those people went on to abuse many other children terribly, and I know the families of some of the people who took their lives, and pain that they go through. I know the children, now middle-aged adults, who cannot forget what happened to them, and live with it every single day of their lives. I don’t understand why, because the High Court ultimately found that there must have been a reasonable doubt in the jury, it decided in its wisdom, that it knew better than the jury who sat and watched every single day of evidence. I don’t understand why they can just push away everything else that has been exposed about this person, but it just tells you a lot about the way that some people in the community are really fixed in their views, and they just don’t want to know anything that might tear down people that align with them.

Note carefully how she slides from assertions about Cardinal pell’s putative knowledge of historical abuse by other priests to his alleged personal abuse of the altar boys, and then, astonishingly, she seeks somehow to link this alleged knowledge of the behaviour of others to the High Court’s consideration of the appeal against his conviction. She then asserts that the High Court’s decision was infected by its members — presumably all seven of them — pre-judging his appeal in a partisan way because Pell is someone with whom they “align” and because they are people who are “fixed” in their views.

It is difficult to know which is more astonishing — the sheer illogicality of Ms Milligan’s attempt to join up these wholly unrelated contentions or her willingness to impugn the character and the integrity of seven High Court judges in such a casual and incondite way. These are very serious things to say about men and women who preside over the constitutionally established highest court in our nation.

The editor of Quadrant Online, not a lawyer, was taken with the notion that Ms Milligan had placed herself in contempt of the court, but I don’t see her remarks as grounding such a charge. The judicial process came to an end with the appeal verdict. Abusing a judge or baselessly attacking his or her integrity can often lead to contempt charges being laid because, collaterally, they are an attack upon the judicial process itself. It is difficult to see how that is the case here. However, Ms Milligan may be at risk of other civil and professional penalties. She says in the transcript she has a law degree, but does not say if she has been admitted to practice. If she is a legal practitioner, then ordinarily the Law Society should be obliged to examine that kind of attack upon the Court. But, then, as I understand it, she lives in Victoria and so ……..… but I won’t repeat myself. The Justices may look to their personal remedies of course, but that is unlikely.

Nevertheless, these are the kind of utterances about which a person who purports to be a journalist (or maybe a lawyer) ought to be challenged publicly about. Can no one be found within the billion dollar enterprise that is the national broadcaster to speak up about it?  Isn’t this the kind of departure from basic standards of conduct that is Media Watch‘s purported raison d’etre? Ms.Buttrose, in your conscience does it not behoove you to formally address with your employee her public statements, especially those of a journalist whose ouevre your organisation so stridently promotes?

The ABC didn’t publish her Pell book, but they have relentlessly lauded and spruiked it and its author’s pursuit of Pell. She is part of the Four Corners team. Her campaign against Pell was also their campaign against Pell. It still is. ABC broadcasts, remember, assisted in precipitating the launch of  important Victoria Police investigations of Cardinal Pell.

But let me get back to the passage quoted above.

Observe how Milligan complains that the High Court substituted their own assessment of the evidence for that of the jury who “sat and watched” it . Credibility issues could only conceivably have arisen in relation to the witnesses Portelli, Potter, McGlone and of course, the complainant (these were the witnesses whose evidence the Court of Appeal chose to view). But Milligan can’t be talking here about the witnesses who were priests or sacristans or about other altar boys, for their evidence was not challenged on the appeal. She is talking about the complainant; the jury sat and watched him give his evidence, she is saying, and yet the High Court justices dared to have thought they “knew better” than the jury.

In my opinion this demonstrates that Ms Milligan has chosen not to read the High Court judgement or that she has set her mind against comprehending it. At [37]-[39], of its judgment the High Court explain why it was unnecessary for the Court of Appeal to view the evidence of the complainant. This goes the very heart of the Court of Appeal’s error (I mean that of the plurality in that court, of course). Juries and appellate courts have entirely dissimilar roles. At [39] the High Court says (my emphasis):

The function of the court of criminal appeal in determining a ground that contends that the verdict of the jury is unreasonable or cannot be supported having regard to the evidence in a case such as the present, proceeds upon the assumption that the evidence of the complainant was assessed by the jury to be credible and reliable. The court examines the record to see whether, notwithstanding that assessment – either by reason of inconsistencies, discrepancies, or other inadequacy; or in light of other evidence – the court is satisfied that the jury, acting rationally, ought nonetheless to have entertained a reasonable doubt as to proof of guilt.

If a law graduate such as Milligan wants to challenge such an unexceptional exposition of the criminal jurisprudence as observed by the High Court she is, of course, entitled to do so, but might we not expect her to advance some kind of argument when taking on the highest court in the land, especially when it is sitting in banco? And if she can’t come up with any arguments, shouldn’t she be more circumspect before expressing such strong thoughts about it? Indeed, might this indicate the same intemperance that accounts for her claim that the Justices  “just push away everything else that has been exposed” about Pell? What exactly is she contending here? What exactly is she saying the High Court ought to have taken into account in deciding the appeal?  If she is referring, for example, to the question of what she alleges to be his knowledge of the notorious paedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale  — and Pell’s “knowledge” is a  complex and highly disputed topic in itself–  how does she say evidence about that matter could possibly be relevant or admissible at Pell’s own trial on sexual assault charges? Her proposition is ridiculous on its face.

Has that same intemperance perhaps also been brought to bear in her evaluation of the stories of the many she interviewed in putting together her savage assault on Pell’s reputation in Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell?

I think it only reasonable to suggest Ms. Buttrose needs to reflect upon these matters before Milligan’s access to the extraordinary resources of the ABC in furthering her own agenda (whatever it might be) is permitted to continue.  Whether or not the ABC’s chairwoman possesses the qualities necessary to generate a concern on her part, she should do it on behalf of the public who have picked up the bill for the reckless and spiteful journalistic adventurism her organisation has engaged in regard to Cardinal Pell.

Ms. Adler, the former Melbourne University Press director whom Milligan lauds in her conversation with The Garret, might want to think about such matters too. The decision by Melbourne University Press to advance the publication of Cardinal just as the Pell prosecutions were reaching their climax was surely inconsonant with any proper regard for the integrity of the legal process. In my opinion there is a significant risk that the publicity the book occasioned and the dissemination of claims it contained concernng various vigorously contested allegations, contaminated the trial’s integrity. We can never know one way or the other, but I wonder if it had been Adler’s husband or brother or father on trial in 2017 if the magnitude of that risk might have suddenly become apparent to MUP?  People in important positions were once thought obliged to do the right thing reflexively. I don’t believe such a decision would have been made on Peter Ryan’s watch at MUP.

I suggest that the matters I raise above are not mere quibbles or unimportant questions for Ms. Milligan to answer if she wants to be taken seriously as a journalist or a writer. Actually, let me frame that contention more carefully: I mean such answers are important if she deserves to be taken seriously as a journalist. Some folk appear already to take her seriously but it is not for me to answer for what I take to be the lack of discretion or judgement in others. When her peers in what now passes for the profession of journalism gave her a Walkley award, in my opinion they thereby extinguished any remnant prestige that award might have then retained, in a manner analogous (but for the obvious difference in significance) to the way in which Barack Obama’s peace prize in 2008 or Harold Pinter’s literature award in 2005, say, have forever degraded the repute of the awards given by the Nobel Committee.

 

AND what shall we say about  the following passage in the podcast’s transcript:

After I had gone through the ordeal of being a witness in the Pell committal proceeding, and I had released my first book, Cardinal, and all of that, and I had done some pretty intense stories for Four Corners, including Saxon Mullins’s story, my boss, Sally Neighbour said to me, ‘I’ve got another story for you’. And I thought, ‘Oh God, what is it?’ And she’s like, ‘You’re going to do the Royals’. The Royal family. She’s like, ‘You just need a break, Louise. You need to do something that’s not really grim for a change’. And so, I did this story. I went over to the UK, and it was all about the marketing of the Royals and the finances of the Royals…….

Sally Neighbour, of course, distinguished herself and Four Corners when she sent Sarah Ferguson to roam the world in 2017,  collating interviews with Clinton backers and Democratic Party apparatchiks which her team subsequently had the insolence to present to an Australian audience as an objective analysis of the case that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 presidential campaign. You will recall it was the case that a lengthy and very expensive special counsel investigation found those allegations to be wholly without foundation. Ms. Ferguson’s ridiculously undergraduate bit of work, garnished with breathless innuendo, did her career no harm at all. But that’s how it rolls at the ABC. So why would Ms Neighbour not in turn reward Ms. Milligan for her exertions in the persecution of a high-ranking prelate of the Catholic Church even though all of her labours had by that time, just as now, failed to result in a single sustainable conviction of her quarry?

It is not as if Milligan could add anything to the surfeit of unnecessary information we already know about the Windsors. What educative or cultural imperative could possibly be advanced in incurring the expense of sending Ms Milligan and a film crew to Britain to add to what a perusal of any edition of the Women’s Weekly might have told us at minimal cost?

I offer this explanation: the ABC was simply rewarding one of its own – this time an ingénue in need of encouragement — for the great service she had done in the corporation’s continuing war against the religious element in Australian life. The ABC’s visceral resentment of the persistence of any Christian religious tradition and impulse in our law and culture is manifest in every corner of its monolithic enterprise. Why would they not reward this employee with a nice, soft-news jaunt to London in gratitude for the blow she seemed to have struck against the Catholic Church and, in particular, against Cardinal Pell, a stout warrior in the defence of marriage and traditional sexual mores?  Such is my proffered explanation. If I am right, then Ms. Milligan will have to be more circumspect in her interviews in future if she wants to stay on the up and up in such an organisation, but she may have already worked that out.

Anyway, it is not for me to give her any advice, except maybe this: Please show some respect for the law and its institutions. Their authority is too precious a commodity to be treated as collateral damage in the various wars the Left decides to wage upon the West’s cultural inheritance.

I haven’t read Ms Milligan’s latest book and I don’t intend to do so but I strongly suspect that it will yield very little assistance to the judges and prosecutors and defence counsel involved in the exquisitely difficult task of conducting criminal trials. The allegations against Cardinal Pell involved aspects of the criminal (and civil) law that are notoriously contentious.  The rules of evidence pertaining to allegations of sexual misconduct in the criminal courts and the family courts have been the object of special attention from feminists and other ideologues in the four decades that I have been in the law. I have been counsel or judge in many such trials. In my experience, legislative intervention in such matters (save where it has merely codified the existing common law) have rarely been of assistance in getting at the truth. And the law has also had simultaneously to try keeping up with deteriorating norms of lawful sexual conduct in the community generally.

Truth ascertainment is most certainly not assisted by the media’s cultivation of the veneration of victimhood. This has led us to the utterance of such mindless mantras of “We see you, we believe you” — words used by both Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews when Pell’s conviction was quashed and also by Prime Minister Scott Morrison when delivering an unctuous “apology” after Gillard’s Royal Commission into institutional abuse (but only by certain prescribed institutions). These hollow and ridiculous words don’t help anyone, least of all authentic victims of such crimes.

There are plenty of inauthentic victims out there too, let me tell you. Every day there are people reporting crimes they know were never committed, and every day someone is in a witness box knowingly giving false evidence about themselves or someone else having been the victim of a crime, including sexual crimes.  Unless we are frank about such matters, and unless the legal process remains rightfully vigilant about their incidence, innocent people will go to jail.

Furthermore, a failure to recognise the reality of false accusation, especially in relation to crimes allegedly disclosed by children to adults who are involved in family law litigation, or the development of a widespread belief in a particular part of the community that any account a putative victim gives of his or her experience must be true, will result in a generalised and pervasive scepticism about the truthfulness of all victims.

Inauthentic victims are obviously only a small minority of the putative victims who come before the courts. They are more likely to inhabit those areas of the law where there is an obvious monetary incentive to allege a victim status. This is especially the case where churches set up specific protocols for quickly dispensing monetary compensation following  the completion of quasi-legal processes for those who have suffered or who contend they have suffered abuse at the hands of predatory priests and ministers.

I am reporting honestly on aspects of my experience in the law. Like any other experienced barrister or judicial officer I could give you startling accounts of specific instances of persons giving  false accounts of having been subject to the most heinous criminal behaviour and persisting in those accounts up to and beyond the point at which credibility had been entirely extinguished.

How strange this “we hear you, we believe you” phenomenon is. It is no co-incidence, surely, that its manifestation has so quickly been followed by widespread suspension of the capacity to critically evaluate the risk presented by a relatively feeble virus or that both phenomena have been most floridly displayed in the State of Victoria. I said I have not read Witness, Ms. Milligan’s latest account of her own interactions with authentic and, for all I know, inauthentic, victims of crime. I hope at least that she recognises that both categories exist. Her book might possibly then have some value.

Whether credulity was the salient factor, though, in her participation in the persecution of George Pell is something I can never know, having no window on her soul. While I hope she has taken the time to reflect upon such matters I have to say there isn’t much evidence of that in The Garret interview we have just examined.

The ABC is an altogether different matter. We know exactly what it is was about in this matter and why. We need to do unto it what it tried to do unto George Pell. We need to take it down.

Stuart Lindsay is a retired Federal Circuit Court judge

29 comments
  • lbloveday

    “Stuart Lyndsay is a retired Federal Court judge”.
    .
    Well, sort of – it’s Stuart Lindsay.

    • Roger Franklin

      ham-fisted editor’s moronic mistake. Now fixed

  • Stephen Due

    Why does Australia need a government-funded broadcaster?
    Is there any reason why those who consume ABC programs should not pay for the privilege?
    ‘User pays’ is an excellent principle. And surely the days are passed when anyone can seriously argue that the ABC caters for all Australians? The ABC is really just the Women’s Weekly of the modern age. The taxpayer should not be supporting it.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I wonder what sort of arrangements the ABC has with its pet “stars”. Clearly, Milligan, Ferguson, Masters and various Bowdens have had much of the costs of their work underwritten by the ABC over the years. I wonder how the Australian Taxation Office views these obvious “subsidies” and what would, in other contexts, almost certainly be viewed as “fringe benefits”. No doubt if Milligan were to be sued, the ABC would fund her legal expenses, and the cost of any verdict against her. Would the ABC recover any of these costs from the money advanced to Milligan by her publishers or her future earnings. Of course, not!
    Mere mortals have no such luxuries.

  • PT

    Milligan’s comment is so lacking in self knowledge: “don’t want to know anything that may tear down people who align with them!” Surely the reverse is true in her case. She (and most of the commentariat especially Marr and the ABC) don’t like Pell because his views don’t align with them and are ready to believe anything that might tear him and other “enemies” down! That’s why the glaring inconsistencies in “A’s” account passed them by! And still elude them! But the political motivation is clear. They refuse to conduct such “investigations” against people they see as their own.

  • wdr

    Wes still don’t know the name of the man who brought these mendacious charges against Pell. Although Pell’s name was dragged through the mud, his accuser remains totally anonymous. Investigative reporters- if there are any honest ones- cannot find out if this guy is a demented liar, or in the pay of the Italian Mafia- or anything else about him.

  • Peter Smith

    Were these kinds of awful people like Ms Milligan always around? Perhaps they were and our age has given them a prominence which they would not have had in saner times. I don’t know. I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed your article Stuart Lindsay. Didn’t want it to end.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    When a deeply disappointed Dan Andrews said “we hear you, we believe you”, of course he meant he believes anyone making an accusation against someone seen as an enemy of the Left. He certainly wouldn’t believe someone making an accusation against a former leader of the Federal Labor Party for instance. Mind you, given his evidence at the Inquiry into the Victorian Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic it is difficult to know what Andrews believes, except that it wasn’t him. To that we might say “we hear you, we don’t believe you”, not for a moment.

    Stephen Due asks “Why does Australia need a government-funded broadcaster?” The short answer is it doesn’t. The original aims of the ABC are now better fulfilled by other media and in the absence of that requirement its aim has been progressively manipulated to become, in Stuart Lindsay’s phrase, to “sustain the Left’s stifling overlordship of every aspect of Australian cultural and political life”. As this has been in long-standing violation of it’s charter, the ABC, should be defunded.

  • Sydgal

    Thank you for this post, Stuart. In response to some of the distortions in Milligan’s books, programs and social media posts on a number of subjects, I attended a certain ABC protest just before Christmas. I held up a sign calling for accuracy, balance and impartiality at the ABC (and a copy of Keith’s book!), but the organiser told me I was at the wrong protest and the police officers asked me to move on!

    Louise Milligan and Annabel Crabb had a zoom promotional event for Milligan’s latest book Witness in November. A couple of extracts are below, starting with AC introducing LM. LM then speaks of her experience at the committal.
    “…She is a punchy investigative reporter in print and in television, she is a multitalented broadcaster and writer but the thing that is truly remarkable about Louise is that she has the biggest heart of anyone I know in journalism, I think. And she never ever hides it away. She puts it on the line with every story that she investigates”.
    “…Yes, I do wear my heart on my sleeve and I am a bit of a cry baby sometimes but you can really feel the stories that you do, and people know you care and they know that you are gonna look after them. It’s sometimes a tiring way to be but a very rewarding way to be..
    ….I felt completely alone and it was very, very rare that the Crown Prosecutor actually intervened. He did intervene at times and at one point he referred to the Evidence Act improper questioning which is there to stop barristers from going too far with witnesses in the witness box. I felt the tone all the way through was belittling and harassing…. It was like an out of body experience… I really tried to keep a courtroom face…. I tried not to focus too much on him and if I had an issue to address it to the Magistrate.. He was always trying to get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ and there were so many questions that weren’t best answered by a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’…. And I would sort of turn to the Magistrate and say I’m terribly sorry your Honour but this question is not best answered by a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ and that would just drive him completely bananas….
    And there was a section where for 90 minutes I was drilled on the finer points of anal anatomy ….I went to a Catholic school, I don’t even know what the difference between those are (laughs)… I’ve never thought about those things before and he just had this sort of cantankerous school master tone and that I was like this errant sort of naughty school girl. That was the way that I was treated all the way through as a professional, a journalist as someone who you know has a law degree and has for a long time, covered courts as a journalist, and had the whole ABC behind me, had senior management of the ABC in the room and also my publisher, Louise Adler, and my friends and my family and I didn’t have a substance abuse problem, you know, that came from my childhood trauma. I didn’t have any of those things and yet I was so rung out by this experience”.

  • PT

    Another thing. Why was Milligan a witness? She wasn’t in the procession on that Sunday at St Patrick’s! She wasn’t in the choir, or an alter server, and never claimed to have seen the attacks that were alleged. Regarding the “attacks” in Ballarat: again, she’s only interviewing various accusers. What’s she saying: they told me this and that? Surely the police would have interviewed these accusers, collected any corroborating evidence and cross checked Pell’s locations and any discrepancies in the claims – or would have done if exercising due diligence. What does Milligan have to add to this? She wasn’t there; and has no specialist knowledge or any knowledge the police shouldn’t have been able to provide. I know journalists like to see themselves as the hero, and sometimes imagine they’re part of the story.

  • mazziepudding

    How is it that the Kangaroo Court of Australia blog is able to constantly pillory (and worse) George Pell and various justices of the courts without brought to the attention of the wider community?
    The author of the blog has been jailed for contempt of court in proceedings against a certain “media mogul” and is proud to announce the fact, but absolutely refuses to concede he is wrong about Cardinal Pell.

  • Mike O’Ceirin

    My problem with all of this is that the ABC and Milligan support the idea one can go to jail on the evidence of one without corroboration. They contend there are classes of people who always deliver the truth. This turns our legal system on its head and is extremely dangerous to anyone. Using the same principles Milligan herself could be in jail because someone accuses her of sexual abuse. They do not need evidence on her principles. Of course to make it a believable story there must be some connection but that can be very tenuous. If this principle were to be held any child of her acquaintance during her whole life could when they are of age send her to jail by claiming sexual abuse. I view it as a direct attack on the legal system by the ABC, Victorian legal system and Milligan. If I am asked why I do not watch the ABC any more I just say Pell and leave it at that.

  • Peter OBrien

    PT, spot on.

  • Salome

    One could make rude remarks about law graduates who turn into journalists–although it wouldn’t be fair to many of them. Still, that incoherent rant appears to miss the basic principle that it is available to a convicted person to appeal a jury verdict on the ground that it was unreasonable. I’m surprised she didn’t remember learning that in her criminal law classes.

  • lbloveday

    There is a pay-walled article in some News Corp weekend papers, eg:
    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts/man-accused-of-child-rape-before-88-charges-dropped-seven-months-later/news-story/f31464229bf31fa7708102b58f417b09
    .
    In the article his ID was changed to comply with a non-publication order to protect the identity of the complainant. But of course “everyone” knew his id and his life was forever changed.
    .
    In my words, here is a precis of what happened:
    .
    He left home for work and was stopped by 3 NSW Police vehicles, then more turned up – Police dogs, Riot Squad police. You’d think he was sitting on a park bench without a mask.
    .
    88 individual charges were laid of horrific sexual violence against a young girl over 10 years from 2007.
    .
    Police searched his home in front of his wife and two young children.
    .
    FACS took his children.
    .
    His business contacts and networks deserted him.
    .
    The girl claimed he said he murdered six people where Ivan Milat had, she had seen him shoot someone, he showed her the remains of others. BUT still “We hear you, we believe you”!
    .
    No evidence supporting the sex allegations, of injuries, DNA evidence, firearms, remains, unsolved murders. Who needs evidence when you have the word of a child? Even a mentally deranged child?
    .
    SEVEN MONTHS of hell, not as long as Pell, but in some ways worse with a wife and 2 young children and a living to earn.

  • Andrewurban

    lbloveday – yes, a travesty…and the most appalling aspect of that debacle is that the police ignored all the red flags, arrested him (brutally) while knowing there was no evidence against him. Police should be mindful of the Briginshaw principle that applies (or should) in court. Briginshaw directs a court to proceed cautiously in where a serious allegation has been made and/or the facts are improbable. ‘She said’ removes safeguards of the law.

  • Sydgal

    PT- In relation to why LM was a witness at the Committal, according to her books Cardinal and Witness, I think this was because she was the “Witness of First Complaint” for one of the complainants who made allegations of abuse at Eureka Pool.
    In Cardinal there are 8 pages on this story. She says her 730 program and LMM’s Herald Sun story prompted the complainant to come forward – he wanted to help other complainants. “It played like a super 8 film in his mind every time he saw Pell on television”. She writes that after their phone calls, the complainant agreed to make a statement to Victoria Police and she put him in touch with the SANO Taskforce. LM told SANO that she was the first person to whom the complainant had disclosed. LM travelled to Queensland to meet him where he also disclosed alleged abuse by a family member and another man when he was a child.. LM says the complainant had been in juvenile detention and later convicted for theft.
    in Witness, Milligan has a whole chapter devoted to The Witness of First Complaint. One section seems to be about this complainant. She says he was a a shy person, he was telling her things he’d never told his family about. But he was horrified when he saw she had named him in her book Cardinal. He said to her that he had not prepared himself properly for his evidence in court, he just sort of ” lost it” and “got confused”. He says when he first “put his hand up for this process” he had no idea of where it would take him. Louise says that although she and the complainant come from different walks of life, they have a “nice rapport” – he has a straightforward and gentle presence and is thoughtful and nuanced about what he says took place and the impact it had on his life.

  • DougD

    “I don’t understand why, … the High Court … decided in its wisdom, that it knew better than the jury who sat and watched every single day of evidence.” says law graduate and the ABC’s investigative reporter Louise Milligan. Perhaps she could educate herself a little more by viewing ABC programs that have campaigned against jury convictions [admittedly not convictions of Catholic priests] eg Australian Story The Wronged Man [Andrew Mallard] Sept 2010 and http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/earshot/wrongful-the-john-button-story/9065942

  • Lance Eccles

    WDR, according to Keith Windschuttle’s book on the subject, Milligan has revealed so much about the unidentified witness that he is easily identified. Windschuttle withholds his name, but he provides his life story.

  • PT

    What is the legal status of being a “witness of first complaint”? That the accuser had told someone else prior to the police? If, for example, someone sat in the witness box and said that “A” and “B” had told them the story of Pell’s alleged attack(s) back in 1997, then that’s significant for an historical crime. She could claim the complainer wasn’t willing to come forward to the police (although why tell a complete stranger like her if not willing to talk to the police?) and perhaps give evidence to help test if the story have changed. But it’s pretty weak. But she’s clearly inserted herself into the story. No longer can she call herself a simple recorder of fact. At the very least she sees herself as part of the prosecution if not the avenger of the “victims”. No wonder she fails to understand why the High Court quashed Pell’s conviction! She apparently cannot tell the difference between “knowing of” abuse by others (incidentally a separate RC found that Gillard knowingly received money from Wilson’s questionable activities, but as it didn’t recommend charges be laid, Milligan’s fellow travellers declare she was “cleared” – another double standard surely), nor understand that the decision is based solely upon the specific crime Pell was charged with and tried on. The Ballarat allegations are important only to the extent they could establish a history of offending because they are otherwise unrelated. They don’t fill in the holes in “A’s” story, which a true investigative journalist (as opposed to a campaigner) should have been aware of.

  • Ceres

    Ita has shown herself repeatedly “missing in action” as Chair of the ABC so she does not possess the qualities to formally address Louise Milligan’s arrogant criticism of the Seven judges of the High Court of Australia. Louise apparently knows better than their collective wisdom, and to cement that superior wisdom was awarded a Walkley. Ita will be pleased.

  • PT

    Ceres, you can disagree with a Court Judgement – although it’s interesting that Milligan and her crowd were adamant that it was absolutely wrong to disagree with either Pell’s conviction or the majority Appeal Court decision. That’s not some absolute principle anymore apparently. The issue with Milligan is the imputation of motives on 7 very different people. The current justices were appointed by different governments, and likely have different political leanings. But she claims they all see themselves as part of “Pell’s side” and refuse to believe anything that would “tear him down”. This is clearly ridiculous, given the divisions in the High Court on other decisions, such as declaring that anyone with recognised aboriginal heritage has an untrammeled right to live in Australia even if they and their immediate forebears are born elsewhere. A bit of projection is going on there methinks!

  • Sydgal

    Interesting Victoria Law Foundation panel discussion (Milligan, Collins, Vincent, Ratcliffe) Oct 2019 on Suppression Orders in Vic – Supporting or Distorting Justice: https://victorialawfoundation.org.au/for-the-community/the-law-and-you-forum/. Includes discussion on Pell’s case, contempt of court, judge alone trials, juries, victims. 34.53 – Milligan had confidential sources in her book.. she was not about to betray them and she had to rely on Section 126K of the Evidence Act which is the journalists’ privilege- subject to the discretion of the Court. She had to bring on a hearing to protect her sources before the first trial started. They applied to the Vic A-G under the Charter of Human Rights. She says Pell’s lawyers “folded” – she didn’t get the impression that “human rights was their thing… law that is”. Re transcripts, at 1:06:23, she wonders if a redacted form can be made available….”that continues to protect someone who wants to be protected but also doesn’t give a platform to some of the nuttier conspiracy theorists and the rump of denialists who seek to protect the person who was at the top of Catholic Church, and is no longer.. he’s in gaol”.

  • John Wetherall

    Louise Milligan and the ABC have certainly earned their records in the definitive progressive book of “Records of Australian History”. Unfortunately, their records will be in the volume designated Black History. If, of course, the postmodernists have their way, all black history will be rewritten to the white side and vice versa.

  • Phillip

    Within the great walls of the Peoples Socialist Republic of Victoria under Chairman Dan, the fuel of fraud, cover up and leftist socialist agenda speak runs in the bloodlines of their system. As soon as you take one of those socialist government appointees off that bloodline and feed them only the truth, they, or the individual becomes completely disoriented and confused.
    A great example of this is given in the full hearing by the High Court of the Pell Appeal; wherein the Victorian Chief Prosecutor (VCP), when asked by Justice Nettle to explain the truth, the Prosecutor was completely out of her depth. The VCP said the anonymous complainant had an accurate recall of the interior design the the Priests Sacristy, so Nettle just said in reply, “I want to get to the truth because no court in this ordeal has proven that the plaintiff and Pell were in the Priests Sacristy at the very same time….just because the plaintiff may know what the room looks like does not prove that others were also in the room….” The VCP also struggled to convince the High Court bench on which day the apparent offence occurred.
    My point is, when in Victoria, the socialist MSM press (in particular, our dear ABC) and Chairman Dan held the whole prosecution (persecution?) circus within their argument of falsehood. Take the court case, the VCP and the spurious story outside of Victoria and the truth crushes the socialist agenda and lies of the ABC and Chairman Dan.
    Some of us pray, that the full penalty of perjury and prejudice should be thrown at Milligan and certain ABC producers. They do not represent my Australia.

  • Salome

    Sydgal–the words quoted at the end of your post are spiteful and bespeak a mind that is a tad unhinged.

  • sabena

    Stuart says,correctly in my view,that there is no case of contempt.But Milligan is vulnerable,especially if she continues to go on about Pell,to having an injunction made restraining her from future publications.But only Pell can bring those proceedings-they can be brought elsewhere than Victoria,however.

  • Sydgal

    Salome – I was quite surprised she had a platform at that forum (I think it was mentioned that the judicial commissioner was in the audience). Looking back at the timeline for her book Cardinal, I see MUP blog first announced they would publish the book on 21 Feb 2017 (to be published 3 July), 17 May – MP M Foley launches the book, 31 May – MUP announces ‘sales have gone through the roof’, June – Milligan tweets at least 6 book promo events for that month and various writers festivals she’s been invited to attend, 30 June – MUP announces book withdrawn from sale in Vic but includes a link to where it can be bought online. 29 June 9.31am – Milligan tweets “Huge development: George Pell expected to be charged today”, to which a complainant who appears towards the end of Ferguson/Jones ABC Revelations Part 3 Program (and launched a “landmark civil case to unravel George Pell’s legal legacy of protecting Church assets from its victims”) replies “Just passed a bookshop, punters are queuing up to buy your book”.

  • Sydgal

    * Juries Commissioner

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