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Good news for due process: George Pell’s historical sexual abuse convictions quashed

April 7th, 2020 at 10:20am

George Pell “appeal allowed, convictions quashed” Chief Justice Susan Kiefel has announced. Correct outcome based on the flimsy evidence which seemed to be presented in the prosecution, although I certainly think George Pell had a hand in covering up other abuse and that will forever be a stain on his character and that of the Catholic Church organisation.

Still, George Pell, like the rest of us, has the right to a fair trial and the High Court has effectively concluded that the process was not conducted fairly. It is a great tragedy for both George Pell and all of the alleged victims that the process has played out in this way and dragged on for so many years.

I have no doubt that the alleged victims were victims of someone and something, and perhaps their memories of events weren’t as clear by the time the matters got to court as they once were. I hope that they and their families can find some sort of comfort and peace in future. I also hope that there can be a good side-effect from this case and others that, in future, these sort of cases come to light quickly and allow the evidence to be fresh, giving everyone a better chance for a fair outcome.

From a legal standpoint of a system where you are innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, I am relieved that Justice Kiefel has handed down this finding.

I had a good feeling about Justice Kiefel when I watched her be sworn in as a High Court justice in 2007. This is good news for due process. A very good job by the High Court and great day for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the cornerstone of our legal process which underpins so many of our civil liberties.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: General News,Samuel's Editorials

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