The long running events surrounding the accusations, criminal charges, trials, imprisonment, appeals and eventual exoneration of Australia’s Cardinal George Pell have been extensively covered both in the media and in court documents. However, only with the unanimous judgement of the full bench of the High Court of Australia, in favour of George Pell, could the full story be unravelled. It is a story of injustice, considerable incompetence on the part of Victoria Police, a damning media campaign against Pell over years and a church weakened by a prejudicial Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. To document and further discuss the lessons to be learned from the saga, Frank Brennan SJ, author of Observations on The Pell Proceedings, Gerard Henderson, author of Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-on & Collective Guilt along with Monica Doumit, Director, Public Affairs & Engagement, Archdiocese of Sydney and columnist with The Catholic Weekly spoke for The Sydney Institute on Tuesday 8 March 2022.

LESSONS FROM THE PELL CASE – TWO YEARS AFTER THE HIGH COURT DECISION

FRANK BRENNAN

To say “We believe you” to a complainant is not the equivalent of rendering the police as judge and jury.  It’s one thing for a Prime Minister to say this in Parliament, it is another for police, prosecutors and judges to say it without first attending to their proper functions.  Under the rule of law, it ought mean: “We, the police, take very seriously what you say. We will dedicate the police resources to investigate your complaint. Should there be other credible testimony which is inconsistent with your account, or causes us to question whether it is reliable, we will come back to you for clarification.  If at the end of the day, it is highly improbable that the offending could have occurred when, where and with the person you allege, we will tell you, and we will explain why there is no point in proceeding with the laying of charges.”  When a complainant changes his or her story several times thereby rendering the original account not only improbable or implausible but all-but-impossible, the prosecution discharging its duty to the court should admit the problems of proof, considering whether to proceed on indictment.[1]

It’s one thing for a Prime Minister to say this in Parliament, it is another for police, prosecutors and judges to say it without first attending to their proper functions.

The DPP should do their job, relying only on the evidence, and not inventing theories which are inconsistent with the evidence.  An indictment should be filed and, in the event of a hung jury, a second trial should be contemplated, only if the DPP dispassionately decides that “a jury would proceed to conviction”[2] on the evidence according to law, and not on the venting of public animus against the accused.  The DPP should not speculate with theories before the jury when such speculation is at odds with uncontested evidence led by the Crown.  On appeal, whether in the High Court of Australia, or at a lesser appellate level, the DPP should not invent theories or misconstrue evidence.

Appeal judges should attend to the evidence.  Even if they find a complainant very compelling, by dint of their demeanour as a witness, they should be attentive to all the evidence.

Appeal judges should attend to the evidence.  Even if they find a complainant very compelling, by dint of their demeanour as a witness, they should be attentive to all the evidence. They must conclude that a jury must have had a reasonable doubt when they themselves have a reasonable doubt which is prompted not by the complainant’s demeanour but by the credible uncontested evidence of other crown witnesses, with that doubt being compounded by multiple changes to the complainant’s account rendering the original account implausible, if not impossible.  As the High Court has often stated, “where the evidence lacks credibility for reasons which are not

explained by the manner in which it was given, a reasonable doubt experienced by the court is a doubt which a reasonable jury ought to have experienced”.[3]

Principal lessons

The principal lessons from the Pell Case are:

  1. SANO (the specialist unit which was set up within Victoria Police to investigate reports of child sexual abuse – either historical or current – that occurred in a religious or institutional setting) and Victoria Police generally, under the leadership of Commissioner Graham Ashton, were not fit for purpose doing basic policing when it came to an allegation of child sexual abuse against Australia’s most senior cleric when Ashton and his detectives knew that the national and international spotlight would be on their handiwork. Whatever else SANO and SOCIT (Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams) do, they should do basic policing 101. If their other responsibilities preclude, or are inconsistent with competent basic policing, investigations and evidence collection from witnesses (other than complainants) should be conducted, overseen or assessed by competent police officers who are not members of SANO or SOCIT.
  2. The DPP should commence a prosecution only if “there is a reasonable prospect of conviction”[4]. At trial and on appeal, the DPP runs off the rails when its counsel decides to speculate contrary to the uncontradicted evidence which the DPP itself has called, and when the DPP invents theories unsupported by the evidence.

    At trial and on appeal, the DPP runs off the rails when its counsel decides to speculate contrary to the uncontradicted evidence which the DPP itself has called, and when the DPP invents theories unsupported by the evidence.

    Such errors become compounded when the DPP herself appears before a full bench of the High Court and inaccurately claims that the prosecutor before the jury made a generous, incorrect disavowal contrary to the evidence when the prosecutor, once alerted by the trial judge, rightly corrected his idle speculation unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. In this case, the DPP could have helped by complying with its own published policy that its prosecutors “must not put forward theories that are not supported by evidence”[5]. If that goes for prosecutors at trial, one might expect that the same prosecutorial discipline would apply to the DPP herself appearing on appeal before the full bench of the High Court of Australia.
  3. Appeal court judges should be attentive to the evidence of all witnesses and should apply the tried and tested criteria for the upholding of any conviction. This sort of observation by Ferguson CJ is reflective of a judicial bias in favour of complainants which is both contrary to legal principle and unwarranted: “Mr Boyce, the underlying theme perhaps not expressed in this way by you though, is really what you’re saying is that the complainant’s evidence was so strong, was so forceful, so credible, such that he was a witness of truth, beyond what you might see in other cases, that it’s going to take a lot to create a reasonable doubt.”[6]

That sentence is as neat a summary as you will find of her reasoning and that of Maxwell P in their flawed judgment which was struck down 7-0 by the High Court. 

Not all complainants are the same.  This complainant was very articulate.  Moreover, he had a great capacity for revising his recollection of events to fit with the evidence as it came to light.  Twice, he radically revised the route taken to and from the sacristy before and after the alleged first set of assaults.  But the revision each time created even more problems.  Those of us who know his identity by virtue of his having been identified during argument in the Court of Appeal, by no less than the Crown itself, are able to follow him on social media.  He enters the domain of social media almost every day – usually about his antagonism to the Morrison government, the Labor Party, the Murdoch Press, the Nine papers and Channel 10, expressed through his self-persona as a working class intellectual/writer. That’s his right. At trial, he had an explanation for everything, but the inconsistencies were considerable. When asked why he did not tell his companion about the second incident a couple of months after the first round of alleged assaults, if only to warn his companion that Pell was at it again and to be careful, he responded:

Because the incidents were isolated, where they were compartmentalised and they were pushed away from my normality. They were absolutely isolated and ripped out of my mainframe which was – which was heading towards trying to be a young academic, you know, kid in a rich school trying to survive and trying to get through and trying to impress everyone in my family and trying to — to do something that — that I had the — I hadn’t done before, you know. That meant a lot to me. That meant a lot to me. And the fact that — that that was jeopardised, and the fact that – and it didn’t matter what jeopardised it. I could not bear the fact of — of letting down everyone in my life. Everyone around me had a lot of hopes in me on attending St Kevin’s [College], you know. That was the main drive. I wanted to stay at St Kevin’s. I wanted to be a part of that school, and I wanted to succeed in a rich private school environment. And I wanted that with my own head.[7]

Clearly, this explanation impressed Ferguson CJ and Maxwell P who quote it in their judgment as a coherent answer to the query not about the failure to report the second alleged assault to the authorities, or about the failure to tell his parents, but about the failure to warn his companion who was his friend. As a scholarship boy with all those hopes and expectations trying to impress all and sundry, you are left wondering why he would deliberately break from the choir procession at peak hour and enter one of the busiest rooms in the cathedral after mass for an illicit purpose, being dressed in choir dress which would mark him as being out of place, and not knowing who he might encounter in the sacristy on arrival. Assuming against the evidence that the incident took place as he variously described, and being as intelligent and wily as he is, he must have considered the real possibility that he would be sprung and end up in trouble, blowing all chances of academic advancement at a good school. On his account, he was prepared to run that significant risk, but not the minimal risk of telling his mate that he should be careful because Pell was at it again. Swilling wine in the sacristy after mass might have put his scholarship in jeopardy. Telling his companion about what happened would not.

As a scholarship boy with all those hopes and expectations trying to impress all and sundry, you are left wondering why he would deliberately break from the choir procession at peak hour and enter one of the busiest rooms in the cathedral after mass for an illicit purpose

In his record of interview in October 2016, Pell said that (i) he would have been on the steps of the Cathedral for at least ten minutes after Mass on 15 and 22 December 1996; (ii) he would have been in the company of Portelli when he returned to the priests’ sacristy to remove his vestments; and (iii) there was “a hive of activity”, continuous traffic into and out of the priests’ sacristy for ten to 15 minutes after the altar servers completed their bows to the crucifix, with that stream of traffic including sacristan, assistant sacristan, concelebrants, altar servers and money collectors.  Pell’s account was confirmed by the uncontested evidence of witnesses called by the prosecution at trial.

The prosecution’s case was that that the vile offending took place during a period of six minutes in the priests’ sacristy soon after the conclusion of the 11 am mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral on 15 or 22 December 1996 with Pell being in attendance with two boys and with none of the usual occupants of the sacristy being in attendance, those occupants including concelebrants, money collectors, sacristan, assistant sacristan and 7-9 altar servers.

The offending had to occur either before the altar servers bowed to the crucifix in the sacristy at the end of their procession OR immediately after the altar servers bowed to the crucifix and before the “hive of activity” commenced in the sacristy. There was no other possibility. There was never a time when Pell could have been alone with the two boys in that room soon after 11am mass.  It was a fantasy.

There was never a time when Pell could have been alone with the two boys in that room soon after 11am mass.  It was a fantasy.

A case without evidence, and without even a theory as to how the alleged offences could have occurred

OPTION One: The offending occurred before the lead altar servers bowed to the crucifix, and during the time of private prayer time

The first four offences related to alleged activity in the priests’ sacristy immediately after mass on either 15 or 22 December 1996. Had the police bothered to have interviewed any altar servers soon after the conduct of the complainant’s walk-through in March 2016, (during which, incidentally, he tells police that the route of the post-mass procession took place inside the Cathedral) they would have ascertained that the altar servers leading the external procession could not have arrived at the priests’ sacristy until 4½ minutes after they had set out at the foot of the sanctuary. That would then have allowed the police and prosecution to establish that by the time the complainant had refined or redefined his account of the route taken, the complainant and his companion could not have arrived at the sacristy until at least 5½ minutes after the commencement of what sacristan Potter described as the private prayer time.  They could also have established that there was no way that Pell at the back of the procession could have arrived before then, even if he spent no time greeting parishioners on the cathedral steps.

There was no way that six minutes of offending could have occurred before the bow to the crucifix.

There was no way that six minutes of offending could have occurred before the bow to the crucifix.

At trial this was the critical question asked of Potter on which the prosecution and Justices Ferguson and Maxwell were to place so much emphasis.

MR GIBSON: Mr Potter, can I ask this question. Once mass finishes and the procession commences down the nave towards the western door, once mass finishes and the procession commences how long is it before you first attend the sanctuary to start doing what you’ve just told us?

— Could be five minutes. I make sure that the procession’s cleared from the cathedral first. That the whole procession’s moved through. And people will be walking up to the sanctuary area kneeling, so we didn’t disturb them for that five or six minutes, we gave them their private time and then we would move in after that.[8]

By the time the matter reached the High Court, the DPP had decided to “go in hard”, trying to suggest, contrary to the evidence, that the private prayer time had no starting point (when the procession set out from the foot of the sanctuary) and that the private prayer time could have lasted 12 minutes or more (the time for the complainant to reach the sacristy on his convoluted final route and for the offending to then have occurred).

the DPP had decided to “go in hard”, trying to suggest, contrary to the evidence, that the private prayer time had no starting point 

MS JUDD: Well, I am really going to go in hard on this and say that six minutes is just not something that you can be definite about because what they say is that the period – there is a period of a quiet interlude. Now, how long that is and when it starts is very much dependent upon how long it takes for the cathedral to be cleared.[9]

MS JUDD: I am not – no, I do not want to tie myself to the five to six minutes. We say yes, that is open. But also, what I want to make very clear is it is also when that starts. So, you might have your five to six minutes, but there might be the clearing out of the cathedral before that five to six minutes ‑ ‑ ‑

GAGELER J: When you say clearing out, are you referring to Potter’s evidence at 380 or are you referring to something else?

MS JUDD: Yes, and I was going to take you to it and I think it is probably easier that I just take you ‑ ‑ ‑

GAGELER J: He is referring to the procession clearing out.

MS JUDD: Yes, the procession, I beg your pardon.

GAGELER J: Does he mean the congregation? Are you drawing a distinction?

MS JUDD: Okay, no.[10]

KIEFEL CJ: Ms Judd, was it put to any witness that it could be more than five to six minutes?

MS JUDD: Well, it is put that going over to the ‑ ‑ ‑

KIEFEL CJ: The question is not a difficult one, Ms Judd. Was it put to any witness that it could be more than five to six minutes?

MS JUDD: It was put more in an open way to explore it rather than to put it ‑ ‑ ‑

KIEFEL CJ: I take it the answer to my question is no?

MS JUDD: No, but there was never any leave to cross‑examine, so it was explored in an open

‑ ‑ ‑

KIEFEL CJ: But in the passages you have just taken us to, the prosecutor adopts the evidence of five to six minutes and goes with it.[11]

Option Two: The offending occurred immediately after the lead altar servers bowed to the crucifix and prior to the “hive of activity” in the sacristy

For this option to have been a possibility, 7-9 altar servers upon arrival at the priests’ sacristy would immediately have had to depart from the priests’ sacristy either in concert, or individually, contrary to what was their usual modus operandi, namely the “hive of activity”, setting about moving between the sacristy and the sanctuary removing sacred vessels and storing them in the sacristy. At trial, the prosecutor suggested in his final address, with absolutely no evidence, that all the altar servers withdrew promptly to the utility room (or workers’ sacristy) for at least six minutes.  After objection from the defence to the trial judge before the luncheon adjournment, the prosecutor returned after lunch and told the jury:

For this option to have been a possibility, 7-9 altar servers upon arrival at the priests’ sacristy would immediately have had to depart from the priests’ sacristy either in concert, or individually, contrary to what was their usual modus operandi, namely the “hive of activity”

MR GIBSON: Mr Foreman and members of the jury, before lunch I had spoken about there being this period of time after the altar servers had bowed to the crucifix in the priests’ sacristy and before Mr Potter had started ferrying items from the sanctuary to the priests’ sacristy. I think I might have said that the altar servers were in their workers’ sacristy during this five to six minute time period. There is, of course, no evidence of that, and there’s no evidence of where they were. There is evidence of where they weren’t from A, and that is that they weren’t in the priests’ sacristy, so I was inviting you to conclude that it was during this period waiting for the green light from Mr Potter that, wherever the altar servers were, it was not in the priests’ sacristy. I just wanted to make that clear.[12]

Before the High Court, the DPP herself tried to give the discredited, unsubstantiated theory another run:

BELL J: Is this going back to the position that the prosecution disavowed at trial?

MS JUDD: He incorrectly disavowed that there was no evidence, he was very generous in that, but the ‑ and I can take you to all of that, but let me take you to McGlone. Certainly, there is no evidence that they were there for five to six minutes ‑ ‑ ‑

BELL J: Was the evidence ‑ ‑ ‑

MS JUDD: ‑ ‑ ‑ but they left ‑ certainly, the evidence was that they left that room.

BELL J: Was the evidence that they went about their duties clearing the sacred vessels after they had removed their vestments?

MS JUDD: Yes.

BELL J: Yes, thank you.[13]  

In reply, counsel for Pell, Walker SC was rightly withering in his assessment of this tactic by the prosecution:   

Today it is established that, insofar as it is appropriate to talk about a Crown case in this Court – and it is not really – the argument says that the offending took place and obviously the proposition is that it could have taken place, given the necessary duration, after the servers had entered to bow to the crucifix and before the so‑called hive of activity, which is the servers and others being involved in the ferrying to and fro from the sanctuary to the very same room of the sacred vessels.

We know that at trial, perceiving understandably a difficulty in proving beyond reasonable doubt the offending as alleged, the Crown went to the jury initially, as I explained in‑chief, namely, that there was a gap or hiatus constituted by a period when the servers went elsewhere after the bow to the crucifix.

There was objection at trial on the basis of there being no evidentiary foundation for that argument and the Crown accepted the propriety of the objection and to the jury withdrew it. That is now, startlingly, to us, described as an incorrect disavowal by a very generous prosecutor of that theory.

What we do not have, of course, is the second shoe dropping; so, where is the evidence, the non‑existence of which, as understood by counsel on both sides at trial, led to the withdrawal by the prosecutor of such an argument and your Honours do not have it. In our submission, we should not have to deal with that kind of improvisation at this point. You will not find it in the exchange of written submissions, for example.14

No one considering only the evidence can seriously question the conclusion of the 7 High Court judges.

No one considering only the evidence can seriously question the conclusion of the 7 High Court judges. The High Court concluded:

“It remains that the evidence of witnesses, whose honesty was not in question, (i) placed (Pell) on the steps of the Cathedral for at least ten minutes after Mass on 15 and 22 December 1996; (ii) placed him in the company of Portelli when he returned to the priests’ sacristy to remove his vestments; and (iii) described continuous traffic into and out of the priests’ sacristy for ten to 15 minutes after the altar servers completed their bows to the crucifix.’[14]

Just as Pell said in his record of interview in October 2016 in Rome!  Chief Justice Ferguson and Justice Maxwell denied the validity of this conclusion. By way of contrast, here is what Ferguson and Maxwell concluded:

In our view, taking the evidence as a whole, it was open to the jury to find that the assaults took place in the 5-6 minutes of private prayer time and that this was before the “hive of activity” described by the other witnesses began. The jury were not bound to have a reasonable doubt.[15]

The High Court rightly concluded that on the overwhelming weight of evidence neither Pell nor the two boys could have been in the sacristy during those six minutes. The boys were processing and back-tracking and ferreting; Pell was processing down the main aisle and out on the steps greeting his new parishioners.

Here is the High Court’s damning assessment of the Victorian majority’s attempt to find the magical six minutes when Pell and the two boys could be alone together in the sacristy immediately after mass:

Here is the High Court’s damning assessment of the Victorian majority’s attempt to find the magical six minutes when Pell and the two boys could be alone together in the sacristy immediately after mass:

The principal difficulty with the Court of Appeal majority’s analysis is that it elides Potter’s estimate of five to six minutes of private prayer time with the estimate of five to six minutes during which A and B re-entered the Cathedral, made their way into the priests’ sacristy and were assaulted. The two periods are distinct.[16]

It was not in issue that the altar servers entered the priests’ sacristy and bowed to the crucifix at the conclusion of the procession or that they assisted Potter to clear the sanctuary. In closing submissions, the prosecutor invited the jury to find that, after bowing to the crucifix, the altar servers went to the “workers’ sacristy” and waited for Potter to give them “the green light” to start clearing up. There was no evidentiary support for that submission and, following objection, the prosecutor withdrew it.[17]

The respondent also submitted that “[t]he altar servers would have then left the Sacristy – either for the workers’ room, where they disrobed, or for the sanctuary to assist Potter”. The submission comes close to repeating the submission which the prosecutor withdrew at the trial. There was no evidence that the altar servers went to their room to disrobe prior to returning to the sanctuary in order to assist in clearing away the sacred vessels and other objects. Nor is there an evidentiary foundation for the conclusion that there was a hiatus between the time when the altar servers completed their bows to the crucifix and the clearing of the sanctuary.[18]

The idea that altar servers would disrobe before returning to the sanctuary to remove sacred vessels is of course preposterous. If only someone in the DPP’s office or in VicPol had bothered to familiarise themselves with the protocols and routines of a solemn cathedral mass.  If it had been a military parade, they would have done so.

For completeness, it should be pointed out that not even the prosecution suggested that the offending could have occurred in the priests’ sacristy during a period of time that included the servers coming in and bowing to the crucifix. Such a submission would have elevated implausibility into pure fantasy.

Neither did the prosecution ever suggest that the offending could have occurred a considerable time after the conclusion of the procession at mass.  In his final address to the jury at the second trial, Gibson said:

[T]he Crown case is that for this first incident to have occurred when Archbishop Pell must have come upon the boys fairly soon after the end of mass, not 15 or 20 minutes after mass. That’s obviously what the Crown is submitting, that this first incident, for it to have occurred in the way that A said it occurred, then Archbishop Pell must have been off the front steps, back in the sacristy within a few minutes rather than after 15 or 20 minutes because by that time it couldn’t have taken place, and we know that if Archbishop Pell had to race off for some reason, that his practice of meeting and greeting wouldn’t be long, as he said at interview and as Monsignor Portelli said.[19]

Pell could not have been off the front steps and back in the sacristy “within a few minutes”.  It takes 4½ minutes to walk the route without taking any stops. On his two earlier accounts, A and his companion could have reached the sacristy before the altar servers at the head of the procession. But on his final account, A and his companion could not have reached the sacristy until after the altar servers had reached there then commencing the hive of activity immediately after their bow to the crucifix.

Pell could not have been off the front steps and back in the sacristy “within a few minutes”.  It takes 4½ minutes to walk the route without taking any stops.

The fifth charge: the thirteenth stroke of the Victorian criminal justice clock

This charge related to an alleged assault by Pell on A in the crowded corridor outside the sacristies immediately after mass on 23 February 1997. Mr Reed, the lead police investigator, admitted under cross examination no one conducted any investigation whatever in relation to this incident – none at all.  Justices Maxwell and Ferguson were still convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the offence had occurred:

We would accept, of course, that the sight of Cardinal Pell at close quarters with a choirboy might well have attracted attention but we would assume — as did cross-examining counsel — that all of the others in the corridor were intent on completing the procession, and removing their ceremonial robes, as soon as possible. In that state of affairs, it seems to us to be quite possible that this brief encounter was not noticed. [20]   

Then comes the jurisprudential sentence of the century: “At all events, the evidence once again falls well short of establishing impossibility.” Proof beyond reasonable doubt has become that the defence must establish something is absolutely impossible.  Explaining Pell walking up the three parts of the dogleg corridor past 50 people, Justices Maxwell and Ferguson offer this observation:

Then comes the jurisprudential sentence of the century: “At all events, the evidence once again falls well short of establishing impossibility.” Proof beyond reasonable doubt has become that the defence must establish something is absolutely impossible.

Jurors would know from common experience that confined spaces facilitate furtive sexual touching, even when others are in the same space. And the act of squeezing the genitals is, itself, unremarkable as a form of sexual assault.[21]

This is really woke sort of stuff!  As the High Court said in its judgment:

The Court of Appeal majority accepted that the sight of the applicant at close quarters with a choirboy might well have attracted attention. However, their Honours reasoned that the others in the corridor were intent on completing the procession and removing their robes as soon as possible [including presumably Father Brendan Egan to whom the police have never even spoken and who was beside Pell in the procession on 23 February 1997!!]. In this state of affairs, their Honours assessed that it was quite possible that the brief encounter went unnoticed. At all events, their Honours said, “the evidence once again falls well short of establishing impossibility”.’ 

….

The assumption that a group of choristers, including adults, might have been so preoccupied with making their way to the robing room as to fail to notice the extraordinary sight of the Archbishop of Melbourne dressed “in his full regalia” advancing through the procession and pinning a 13 year old boy to the wall, is a large one. The failure to make any formal report of such an incident, had it occurred, may be another matter.[22]

The police case was a farce.  The incompetence of the investigation may have been motivated by malice.  Only an inquiry will establish that. 

The police case was a farce.  The incompetence of the investigation may have been motivated by malice.  Only an inquiry will establish that.  The judicial reasoning of the Victorian Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal especially in relation to the fifth charge was lamentable.[23] The DPP’s contortions to make sense of the police case were on display for all to see in the High Court.

The big lesson of the Pell case is that if you want to save bona fide complainants and victims years of angst and further trauma, then investigate their cases thoroughly, prosecute them competently, and judge them according to law.  I suspect the public clamour in relation to Pell and the Catholic Church clouded the judgment of a number of Victorian officials.  Hopefully that lesson at least has been learnt.  If such a serious miscarriage of justice can happen to Citizen Pell, it can happen to any of us.   

[1] In this case, the complainant gave three versions of his route from the choir stalls to the priests’ sacristy.  In his first account, the route was a mere 56 steps.  In his final account, the route was 408 steps which would have consumed all the ‘private prayer time’ prior to the ‘hive of activity’ in the sacristy.  See the attached map.  Pell said after the trials: ‘His memory is certainly fallible.  He changed his story 24 times.  But he did construct for himself a perfect alibi.  So by his own accounts, he could not have been in the sacristy being attacked while he was still in procession.  Not even a credible witness can be in two places at once.’ See BBC4, Sunday, 20 December 2020 available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000qhft

[2] See Gavin Silbert QC, Letter to the editor, Quadrant, March 2022, p. 3

[3] M v The Queen, (1994) 181 CLR 487, 494.

[4] See Gavin Silbert QC, Letter to the editor, Quadrant, March 2022, p. 3

[5] Policy of the DPP Victoria, p.8, available at https://www.opp.vic.gov.au/getattachment/a26fab55-0c8a-48a9b4e5-71f3a898e6cb/DPP-Policy.aspx

[6] Transcript, George Pell v The Queen, Court of Appeal, 6 June 2019, p. 212

[7] Quoted by Ferguson CJ and Maxwell P in George Pell v The Queen [2019] VSCA 186, #85

[8] Transcript, DPP v George Pell, County Court, 19 November 2018, p. 473

[9] Pell v The Queen [2020] HCATrans 27 (12 March 2020), p.52

[10] Ibid, pp. 53-4

[11] Ibid, p. 55

[12] Transcript, DPP v George Pell, County Court, 3 December 2018, p. 1368

[13] Pell v The Queen [2020] HCATrans 27 (12 March 2020), p. 60 14 Ibid, p. 72

[14] Pell v The Queen (2020) 268 CLR 123, 163

[15] George Pell v The Queen [2019] VSCA 186, #300 [The Victorian Court of Appeal decision has not been reported in the authorised Victorian Reports].

[16] Pell v The Queen (2020)268 CLR 123, 163

[17] Pell v The Queen (2020)268 CLR 123, 163

[18] Pell v The Queen (2020)268 CLR 123, 164

[19] Transcript, DPP v George Pell, 3 December 2018, p. 1351

[20] George Pell v The Queen [2019] VSCA 186, #339

[21] Ibid, #112

[22] Pell v The Queen (2020) 258 CLR 123, 165

[23]  Ferguson CJ and Maxwell P not only had the benefit of submissions from Pell’s counsel, Bret Walker SC, one of the nation’s leading silks.  They also had the benefit of a 200 page dissenting judgment by Weinberg J, the nation’s pre-eminent criminal appeal judge who had previously served as the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.