The Law

Two Juries, Two Verdicts, One Grim Conclusion

One jury keeps a flickering hope alive. Maybe, after all, Western civilisation can be prevented from spiralling into an abyss. This is a tale of two juries. One representing everything wrong; one everything right. One spurning reason; one embracing reason. One of questionable courage; one of great courage. One having no understanding of blind justice; one which lived and breathed blind justice.

Prejudiced progressives did their utmost to pervert the course of justice in both cases. Neither case should ever have been brought to trial. Yet they were. The evidence was seriously wanting. But the leftist mobs would have their way. Mobs driven by agendas, within which truth plays no part. Lies are their lingua franca. Barefaced lies. Unashamedly repeated lies.

We are not in the niceties of the political debates of yore. Make no mistake, don’t suffer from nostalgia. This is good versus evil. Over the top?

Let me ask, is it evil to vindictively put an innocent priest in prison for crimes he could not possibly have committed? Is it evil to threaten imprisoning an 18-year-old boy for life because he dared defend himself against thugs from the street-rioting wing of the Democratic Party? First to the priest in Victoria.

 

IF YOU followed the case and the evidence, Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic priest in Australia, could not possibly have committed the two crimes in 1996 and 1997 for which he was tried and convicted in 2018. The result: the innocent Cardinal spent 400 days in prison and had his name recorded on the Victorian Register of Sex Offenders. An appeal to the Victorian Supreme Court didn’t free him.

Unfortunately, his defence team rightly argued (within the realms of common sense) that it was impossible for Pell to have committed the crimes. I say ‘unfortunately’ because, in the most extraordinary twist of fate and logic, this allowed two appeal court judges out of three in the state of Victoria to reject his appeal in August 2019, by concluding that it was not impossible. Thus, the novel standard of proof of ‘not impossible’ was given legal currency.

An old lady was unfortunately mugged last evening. I have no iron-clad alibi and the possibility exists that I might have done it. Fortunately for me, the system of justice inherited from English common law generally requires a rather more persuasive level of proof than mere possibility. Let’s see, beyond reasonable doubt, I think it is.

I mention the bizarre majority decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal because it may excuse the jury having reached the same verdict. After all, if two judges can be seriously wrong why not twelve jurors? I’ll tell you why. Under the system of selecting jurors, it’s very unlikely that all twelve in the one room will be incapable of thinking clearly and dispassionately.

A first jury could not reach a verdict. It is widely speculated that the breakdown was ten to two for acquittal. A mistrial was declared and a second trial quickly followed. Both trials, by the way, were held partially out of public view to protect the identity of the accuser (one of the choir boys as referred to below) who gave his evidence by video link. At question, how in the world could the second jury (four women and eight men) have reached a unanimous verdict to convict?

On the first and most egregious of the charges, they concluded that two choir boys left the procession shortly after Solemn Mass at St Patrick’s cathedral in Melbourne to swig altar wine in the priests sacristy. Instead of greeting congregants, as per usual, the Cardinal also made his way alone to the sacristy where, in an area usually full of activity after Mass and where anyone could enter at any second, he found the choir boys and dealt with them most dreadfully. This can be best followed in all of its made-up nonsense in Keith Windschuttle’s book The Persecution of George Pell.

It was quickly evident that the timing was wrong. The Cardinal and the choirboys did not have time to arrive coincidentally at the place of the alleged crime. Moreover, he was always accompanied when robed by his Master of Ceremonies and would have been missed. As to the robes, they are so encumbering that only a contortionist of uncommon skills could have managed the alleged acts. One of the two choir boys had died but had told his mother that he had not been molested. He would say that they said, leaving all of us of sound mind to puzzle over what he would have said if he hadn’t been molested.

The only conclusion which is tenable is that the jury was got at and succumbed. I don’t mean ‘got at’ directly, as in a gangster movie, or that they were under any kind of physical threat. I mean that media and societal intimidation got to them. In other words, they failed miserably in their duty to judge the case on its merits.

The Catholic Church was under the cosh in the media for historical instances of child sexual abuse. A federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2012- 2017) had laid bare sins of the past. Prime Minster Scott Morrison issued an apology (popular among virtue-signalling politicians these days) for past government inaction, just seventeen days before the second trial. And, the left-wing, green, anti-Christian staff-collective at the ABC were using taxpayers’ money to go after Pell. Pictured below is an illustration the national broadcaster published as the ‘get Pell’ fever grew ever hotter.

The #MeToo movement was also in full swing, adding yet more hysteria. Scapegoats needed. Pell was the kind of scapegoat that has leftists lickin’ their chops. A catholic priest; and, to boot, a socially and politically conservative one.

The High Court decision to uphold Pell’s appeal in April 2020, and by seven to zero, no doubt amazed those who had followed the case via the ABC and other mainstream media. A common reason for upholding an appeal is for an error of law. A less common reason is that the verdict cannot be supported by the evidence. It was the latter that rightly freed and acquitted Pell. Measured in prison time, justice was much too long in coming.

 

KYLE Rittenhouse did not carry a firearm across state borders, as was widely ‘reported’. The firearm was kept in the home of a friend’s stepfather in Kenosha. He was legally entitled to carry the gun in Wisconsin. The protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were not peaceful. Only politician and news reporters, with complete disdain for the truth, bare-faced liars in other words, could maintain this description.

Joe Biden and the MSM defamed Rittenhouse by calling him a white supremacist. He isn’t. He’s enrolled in online nursing classes at Arizona State University. He’s a life guard. He’s a cadet with the fire department in his home town of Antioch, Illinois, where he lives with his mother and two sisters.

He did drive across the state borders. For information, while this might be illegal in the hermit Commonwealth of Australia, it is not illegal in the United States. Kenosha, where he worked as a life guard and where his father and other family members live, is roughly 20 miles from Antioch. He didn’t travel to Kenosha to confront rioters. He travelled to Kenosha the day before for his job and was staying at a friend’s house.

He showed up during the riots to offer first aid and to prevent a car dealership from being burnt down, as others had been. Law enforcement was missing in action. He carried a fire extinguisher to try to put out fires. He was attacked, beaten and chased. He shot three (white) men in self-defence. Video evidence showed this clearly. A good account can be found here.

The surviving attacker, Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot in the arm, testified that Rittenhouse didn’t shoot him when he put his hands in the air but only after he approached Rittenhouse, gun in hand. This was the most amazing piece of testimony, ever I would guess, from a prosecution witness:

Defense attorney: When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?

Grosskreutz: Correct.

Defense attorney: It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun, now your hand’s down pointed at him, that he fired, right?

Grosskreutz: Correct.

How in the world did this particular charge ever make the courtroom? Progressive politics, prosecutorial malfeasance and a sickness within the media are all complicit. They are the same forces which brought Cardinal Pell to a show trial.

And now the difference. The jurors in the Rittenhouse trial faced a level of intimidation beyond that faced by the Pell jurors. Yet they didn’t flinch.

It was widely circulated that photographs had been taken of them. They knew that BLM and Antifa thugs might target them and their families. The judge barred MSNBC from the trial for commissioning a tailing of the bus carrying the jurors home each night. My goodness! And remember, they were not sequestered and therefore would have known about the continuing defamatory and poisonous coverage of Rittenhouse on the wretched media throughout the trial.

They had an out. Rittenhouse faced five charges: one count of first degree intentional homicide; one count of attempted first degree intentional homicide; one count of first degree reckless homicide; and two counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety. These latter two charges, carrying the lightest sentences, might have provided a weak-kneed set of jurors with a way to avoid the ire of the mob. They didn’t take it. They took the narrow way. The courageous way. The way of truth.

You might think I am overstating the case. I don’t think so. It shows that ordinary people can face up to the baying and threatening leftist mob and do the right thing. There’s great hope for our future in there. Sadly, that great hope was not evident in Melbourne in December 2018. I’m reluctant to draw a general conclusion.

22 comments
  • Adam J

    Americans take their legal system more seriously than Australians. They give you a lawyer upon request, after all; and evidence gathered illegally is almost always disqualified.
    USA 1, AUS 0
    What do our listeners think?

  • geoff_brown1

    Some years ago, in, from memory “The Times” there was an article claiming that, of your average British jury of “twelve good men and true”, two would be almost illiterate, and a further two completely unable to comprehend any but the simplest of evidence placed before them….I do wonder whether there are similar statistics in Australia…

  • Patrick McCauley

    Two cultures too – though we like to think our two ‘Nations’ very similar – we are also far apart – we actually speak different languages behind a facade of sameness. The ‘prejudiced progressives of the Oz culture have recently banned the individual, and the US culture has not. In America the individual remains self righteously armed against a rogue state – in Oz we have become castrated sheep and though a few still gnash their teeth and cry out in the night – the revolution seems all but complete …

  • tommbell

    Rittenhouse and the jurors will live the rest of their lives in fear – and expect MSM to pile on supporting a pogrom of the law abiding.

  • STD

    IQ is the problem- social justice requires not only a low but a corrupt intelligence.
    The Pathology of real truthful thinking and deliberation demands higher levels and sources of thought.

  • Guido Negraszus

    I agree with the article. I think you could have included the George Floyd trial. Was it justice? I just say this: I did an experiment with a friend of mine. I was lying on the ground, just like Floyd, and asked him to push his knee into my neck. Guess what? No matter how hard he pushed down his knee, and we tried all possible positions, it never interfered with my breathing. Make of it what you want.

  • STD

    Guido maybe the difference with Floyd is that he was under the influence of morphine or a similar narcotic derivative, which suppress the respiratory systems ability to function properly as well- this is why they use mor-phine in end stage palliative care- I presume that dampened respiratory function will lead to declining oxygen saturation levels which with and under a normal regime of administrative doses of morphine will hasten death.
    Norm 95%-100% o2 saturation with pulse oximeter.
    Blood oxygen levels below 90% are considered low. People can live on lower saturation levels but they wouldn’t be in any state to enter a boxing ring or fight in one- most doctors are aware of this ,I’m not sure if that is part of a policeman’s remit- then again I’m probably wrong.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    The first jury in the Pell trials came close to a “Rittenhouse” standard, but didn’t quite make it. They do however offer some hope that an understanding of the principles of justice in the civil population hasn’t been entirely lost in Victoria. The real problem is the Victorian legal system which, apart from the honourable exception of Justice Weinberg, was shown by the Pell case to be both incompetent and irredeemably politicised. From a Chief Commissioner lying to a royal commissioning on reporting of accusations and suicides, the police force advertising for “victims” (Operation Tethering) and leaking accusations to the media, a Supervising Magistrate committing Pell to trial as well as appearing on the ABC to support Louise Milligan’s book of lies, and a couple of Appeal Court judges, including a Chief Justice, who either don’t understand or don’t believe in the basic legal principle of reasonable doubt. Of course the Lawyer X case indicates that in the Victorian legal system that corruption cannot be ruled out in the Pell case as well as the manifest incompetence. No legal system is perfect, but in the case of Victoria after such a long period of ALP rule, it is difficult to see any vestige of perfection at all. As soon as the Pell case left Victoria the politicised charade was over by a unanimous verdict by the High Court. That says everything you need to know about Dan Andrew’s legal system.

  • JH

    It is hard to agree with the author that the Rittenhouse case should not have gone to trial.
    It was not unquestionably self-defence, especially in respect of Rosenbaum, the first person shot.
    In his case the prosecution had reasonable prospects of a conviction although the acquittal was clearly justified.
    The Pell trial, on the other hand, should not have seen light of day.
    Unfortunately, Cardinal Pell is not the only person to suffer at the hands of incompetent police officers, biased reporting and a dopey jury.
    It is a shame that he did not bring a civil claim against the lot of them (the jury excluded).
    It would have been attractive to see the cross-examination of the complainant with Cardinal Pell’s lawyers armed with the details of his background which information was denied to them in the criminal proceedings – particularly in light of Keith Windshuttle’s new revelations concerning the complainant’s recent work placement.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    NG I also read the post mortem report of George Floyd. Reading it and not following the trial, the defence would have relied on the failure of Floyd to bruise on the neck, then concluding that the force applied to the neck was insufficient to choke him.
    They also argued that the drug residues were the primary cause of death, he had trouble breathing before the knee was placed.
    However he complained of not being able to breathe. The restraint was greater than 8 minutes.
    If your friendly labrador fails to breathe for 8 minutes, its probably dead.
    The clips I saw of the expert witness evidence was that he died of asphyxiation.
    That’s not a gross post mortem diagnosis, it requires further testing, which they presumably used to form the decision and opinion.
    Pressure on the neck can not only cause the trachea and airways, such as the bronchii and small airways to collapse but also send a signal to the heart, via the vagus nerve, to slow down.
    Its possible that the knee also caused clothing to constrict the chest anyway, preventing it rising.
    If he attempted to struggle this would have led to a slippery slope where he burned oxygen but could not breathe out CO2, so struggled more,due to becoming very acidic in the blood. The blood supply to his brain could also be compromised, were the carotids or jugulars constricted, leading to brain death.
    From a distance this only shows how fragile a man’s life is.
    It means that the police must be trained better to do their work.
    There are specialised trainers in the NSW and Commonwealth police forces who educate police in the care and handling of the mentally ill and drug affected.
    There is a shift in Australia to follow the US path and start shooting people with rubber bullets, and deploy
    armoured vehicles, such as the VicPol bearcat.
    What happened to Floyd may be a harbinger of our own future, if we let it happen.
    However, the fault may lie not just with any police involved, but up the chain of command, because beat police were not adequately trained or selected for such a difficult career.
    In Victoria they are playing with fire, shooting their own citizens.

  • Homer J

    The George Floyd case is certainly a complicated case. If you watch the full video leading up to the knee situation it is clear, in my mind anyway, that the person responsible for Floyd’s death is George Floyd. The policemen were very professional and simply wanted to take him to the police station. They tried their best to calm him down. I don’t think that Chauvin intended or expected to kill Floyd. It was a last resort from his point of view. Also, the situation was very tense with all the bystanders yelling at the police. Sure, Chauvin contributed somewhat to Floyd’s death but I don’t think he was the main cause all things considered. 22 years for murder is simply wrong and the prosecution seeks even a longer sentence.

  • whitelaughter

    Yes, the Victorian jury could have been ‘got at’. But that’s amateurish; smarter to ensure that the jury didn’t need to be influenced in the first place. Since a jury is supposed to be selected at random, it would be very difficult to notice if the jury was instead handpicked. Would be well worth checking the online presence etc of those 12, (and the previous 12) and determining whether they would have appeared ideal to the prosecution case.

  • Michael Waugh

    I must say it’s hard to disagree with Homer J and the other commentators above expressing concern about the outcome in Chauvin’s trial. I’ve watched the online footage of the incident which includes mobile phone videos by bystanders and police cam footage. With the benefit of hindsight, it is gut wrenching to see poor George Floyd not being let up as he calls out his inability to breathe, but it is also clear that he was making the same complaint while he was standing and sitting, and he was only restrained on the ground because he attempted to leave the police car after his arrest. The police do not appear violent or aggressive. They seem only to want to effect an arrest. It is the police that call the ambulance because Mr Floyd is having or appearing to have a panic attack. I can easily believe that Chauvin and the other officers meant no harm and foresaw no harm. Chauvin appears to have been convicted of murder and sentenced to 22 years in prison for carrying out his duty as a police officer to effect the arrest of a thief who was resisting that arrest, and effecting it with minimal force by restraining poor Mr Floyd in a position where he would not come to harm and he could not harm others.

  • Trevor Bailey

    The bravery of jurors has a long history in English common law. The trial of William Penn in 1670 is an excellent example. Penn, a Quaker, was charged with ‘riotous assembly’ after preaching in the streets when circumstances left him little choice. The jury refused the judge’s demand that they convict. The jury was imprisoned, then denied ‘bread, water, fire and tobacco’ until they convicted. They were brought back before the judge several times. Finally, in the face of their refusal, the charges were discontinued, but Penn was imprisoned for wearing his hat in court (in accordance with a bailiff’s instruction, by the way). The jurors were also imprisoned on some equally spurious basis. All were released in answer to a writ of habeas corpus. Penn went to America to found Pennsylvania.

  • Simon

    It’s so rare to have anything that is good and honourable coming out on top in this godawful world the socialists have created for us I almost wept with joy at the Rittenhouse verdict.

    I’d actually posted on a Fb article I didn’t hold much hope for the poor man, despite the overwhelming evidence in his favour.

    I sincerely hope he chews the rear ends off Biden, social media and the MSM in The Covington Part II !!

  • depths

    Your summary coverage of the outcomes and pertinent aspects of these two trials is excellent.

    In the case of the application of US justice, I am quite astonished by the apparent lack of its application to the shooting death on 6 January 2021 in the Capitol building in Washington DC of the unarmed woman protester Ashli Babbitt.

    Albeit that she was entering the building after apparently being directed to desist, she was shot dead by a Capitol police officer despite apparently her making no threats to or malicious-intent advance on him. That would have seemed reasonable grounds to bring his actions to trial. I an unaware of any prosecutorial rationale for shelving court action to test the basis for her death by shooting.

  • colin_jory

    It is illegal for a jury member to reveal to anyone, during a trial or forever thereafter, anything which happened in the jury-room, and illegal for anyone to seek to get a jury member to reveal anything which happened. That said, the second Pell jury’s “guilty” verdicts for all crimes alleged against the Cardinal were so egregiously irrational for any jury member with the mental capability to be rational, and so egregiously dishonest for any jury member with the moral capability to be honest, that the enquiring mind committed to justice craves to learn what went on in the jury room, so that the inexcusable might at least become understandable. What happened was not merely an injustice to an innocent man, but a mockery of the fundaments of the rule of law which makes it a threat to everyone, or at least to everyone in the totalitarian tyranny of Victoria.

  • Andrew L Urban

    Two juries, two wrongful convictions…in Australia. Sue Neill-Fraser of Hobart was found guilty of murdering her partner of 18 years on Australia Day 2009, on their yacht, Four Winds. No body has been found; no murder weapon; no witness, no credible motive. No evidence, in fact, just speculation by the prosecutor – which is impermissible but was allowed by the judge. Verdict: guilty.
    Robert Xie of Sydney was found guilty of savagely murdering five members of his wife’s family in their home, overnight July 17/18, 2009. The prosecution (4th trial) began by admitting it had no evidence about time of death for any of the victims, and it agreed that Xie had an alibi until about 2am, using his computer. So it claimed the murders must have occurred after the, but before about 4.30. Xie also had an alibi, confirmed by his wife (who loved her family), that he was in bed asleep the rest of the night. No forensic evidence linked him to the bloody crime. Verdict: guilty.
    In the Pell judgement acquitting him, the High Court said that ‘a jury acting rationally’ should have entertained reasonable doubt. Acting rationally was obviously a stretch for these two juries as well…

  • Andrew L Urban

    ADDENDUM: Juries are not required to produce reasons for their decisions; judges are. Always thought that was a bit of an odd discrepancy…

  • Adam J

    I agree with Andrew Urban. A jury should have to produce a basic judgement document to explain how they came to their conclusion. A court appointed writer could help them.
    This would have the advantage of showing they considered all the evidence and which parts they accepted and rejected.

  • Michael Waugh

    A Chicago judge told me that he would have a conversation with the jury members after they had rendered their verdict, especially if the verdict was a surprise. This was permissible in Illinois. This is not permissible in Victoria. In Victoria we are very keen on juries and have retained their frequent use in civil trials as well as criminal. (A jury of 6 in civil and 12 in criminal). Jury members are permitted to use different paths of reasoning to reach the same ultimate finding of fact or conclusion. Hence, the difficulty of asking the jury to explain their reasons for reaching the unanimous agreement on the ultimate fact. The advantage of the jury system is that the ordinary citizen decides what the facts are and the combined wisdom of the group is thought to be a desirable method of fact-finding. The down-side is the absence of detailed reasons explaining how they arrived at that fact-finding conclusion. A judge alone must provide detailed reasoning and if he/she doesn’t, the judgment will be set aside on appeal. Retaining the active involvement of the community in court outcomes seems, at least on its face, to be very desirable, but more and more, as a community, we desire to know why a conclusion has been reached. It’s a very vexing problem. Having a legal-writer or monitor sitting in with the jury in the jury room during the jury members’
    deliberations would probably be seen as having undue influence over the jury.

  • Wil Elgey

    I’ve served on a jury in 3 successive cases. If ever I were on trial, I would choose it to be judge-only

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