The case against George Pell was misguided, unreasonable and vile, by Greg Craven, professor of law and vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University.
The spectacular 7-0 decision of the High Court in favour of Cardinal George Pell is impossible to describe in conventional terms of winning or losing. …
It was political:
From the beginning, in legal circles there was virtually no dispassionate observer who thought the charges could stick: not in terms of being prosecuted, let alone to the point of conviction.
Lonely dissenters hated Pell so much they did not care, said he certainly was guilty of other crimes anyway or that he was the right person to be punished for the general crimes of Catholic clergy. In other words, they had abandoned their legal ethics.
The inescapable conclusion is that Pell was prosecuted on an unwinnable charge for two reasons: first, that there were those within the justice system, particularly the police, who were determined to destroy him; second, that there was a large segment of the media, fuelled by the police and “victims’ lawyers”, that so clamoured for Pell’s conviction that the weaknesses of the case against him were drowned out by howls of accusation.
Yes, that’s obvious. But why? It was only Pell that was persecuted:
For many years, police had a dreadful record in prosecuting sexual offences. The slightest difficulty would see them drop a case and the hope of a victim for vindication and affirmation. Lives were ruined and lost.
But with Pell, the police pursued him relentlessly, improperly and publicly. Repeatedly, the Office of Public Prosecutions refused to put the police charges. Finally, the police themselves forced its hand.
The same police force that stalked Pell, giving regular press conferences along the way referring to his “victims”, and briefing selected journalists, is now the subject of a royal commission, effectively into their use of a defence lawyer as an informant.
This is less a culture than a drain.
The prosecution was driven by leftist politics:
At the same time, a self-congratulatory media acted as a mob rather than journalists. Instead of reporting a case, they did their best to create an atmosphere conducive to a conviction.
The ABC — supposedly our “most trusted” source of news –— was and remains particularly virulent. Its spear carrier is journalist Louise Milligan, whose life’s work has been her book shredding the Cardinal’s reputation.
But after the High Court’s decision, there now will need to be an extra, very uncomfortable chapter.
Yes, but why him in particular? Legally irresponsible and clearly driven by politics, yes. But why did they pick on Pell, and why now? Outside the law professor’s purview perhaps.