George Pell decision angers survivors & Hollingworth’s flawed response

george pell during sermon

Child abuse survivors were enraged this month by Justice Peter McClellan’s decision to allow Cardinal George Pell to give evidence to the Royal Commission via video link.

Pell’s $20,000-a-day lawyer had argued vigorously that his client should be excused from traveling from Rome – where he heads the Vatican’s finance ministry – to appear before the Child Abuse Royal Commission.

A medical report provided to the Commission, but not available publicly, claimed that Pell’s life would be at risk if he were to attempt a long-haul flight. The decision raised several issues, including Pell’s indefinite exclusion from Australia. If Pell were to return to Australia, he may face Federal contempt charges.

The decision raised several issues, including Pell’s indefinite exclusion from Australia. If George Pell were to return to Australia, he may face Federal contempt charges. The Royal Commission does have the option of holding a hearing in Rome – and sending Pell the bill – but this possibility has not been raised in the Commission.

A WA doctor offered to assemble a voluntary medical retrieval team to accompany Pell on his flight back to Australia to face the Commission. In a letter published in Fairfax Media newspapers, Doctor Richard Sallie said he would also happily pay for Pell’s first-class airfare.

“It seems to me if he’s able to carry out his job as the or financial controller of the Catholic Church then he’s probably fit enough to travel,” Doctor Sallie told Fairfax.

The decision raised several issues, including Pell’s indefinite exclusion from Australia.

If Pell were to return to Australia, he may face Federal contempt charges.

The Royal Commission does have the option of holding a hearing in Rome – and sending George Pell the bill – but this possibility has not been raised in the Commission. A WA doctor offered to assemble a voluntary medical retrieval team to accompany Pell on his flight back to Australia to face the Commission. In a letter published in Fairfax Media newspapers, Doctor Richard Sallie said he would also happily pay for Pell’s first-class airfare.

Also to give evidence to the Commission via video link will be former Ballarat bishop, Ronald Mulkearns. Mulkearns, who has terminal cancer and requires full-time care in a nursing home, will be required to give evidence later this month.

Mulkearns was central to the relocation of several paedophile priests over 30 years including Australia’s most notorious paedophile, Gerard Ridsdale.

Hollingworth admits to his flawed response 

Earlier this month former Australian Governor-General, Doctor Peter Hollingworth, admitted that in 1993 he was more concerned with the welfare of a paedophile priest than that of a young victim.

The male victim was abused by John Elliot in the 1980s. Despite Elliot admitting the abuse to Hollingworth, who was then Archbishop of the Diocese of Brisbane, the priest remained in his role until his retirement in 1996. Elliot has since been jailed for offences against seven boys.

Brisbane Grammar School has decided not to refund the tuition fees of students who were sexually abused by school counselor Kevin Lynch in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite the Brisbane Anglican Diocese telling the Royal Commission that the fees would be refunded, the School’s Board decided against this initiative.

From next month, the Royal Commission will set its sights on the creative arts sector as it investigates the behaviour of dance teacher Grant Davies, and dance instructor and pianist, Viktor Makarov.

Get the justice you deserve with Kelso Lawyers. We want to hear your story. Call (02) 4907 4200 or complete the online form before you accept payment from the National Redress Scheme. 

Image Source: Britannica

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