Cardinal Pell vs ABC: the High Court’s knock-out

The taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Commission led the witch-hunt against Papal advisor, conservative and climate sceptic Cardinal Pell. Here’s how the ABC dealt with its own disgrace

Does the ABC have a conscience or does it merely have expertise in what the vulgar call “arse-covering”? Witness the ABC-TV’s handling of the Pell vindication on its flagship 7pm news on Tuesday and Wednesday in Victoria, SA, Tas, WA, NT and ACT. The NSW and Queensland ABC-TV news teams were less culpable and/or less incompetent.

The Victorian team on Tuesday covered Pell’s acquittal without once mentioning that the High Court judges’ decision was 7-0 unanimous. This element surely by any professional journalist’s standards, was material to the story.



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As I watched the comely Tamara Oudyn read her autocue, intuition alerted me that bad stuff was happening, professionally. Each time “Tam” and her sidekick, Sarah Farnsworth (a 15-year ABC veteran), mentioned the High Court decision, I shouted this addition to the screen, “Unanimous High Court decision!”

Wednesday morning I thought, “Damn them!” and at 6.50am fired off this formal complaint:

Subject: Material omission in Pell judgement by High Court
In the entire item on the High Court’s freeing of Pell, flagship ABC TV News 7pm Vic did not once say the seven High Court judges’ decision was ‘unanimous’. I am sure that if the decision was 4-3 the News would have mentioned it. But because the unanimity of the decision is severely damaging to the ABC’s long-standing crusade against Pell, it was deliberately omitted that the decision was unanimous. 

It is impossible to believe that the word ‘unanimous’ was omitted for any other reason than bias.

The ABC charter says or implies that material facts should not be omitted.
Thanks for attending to my complaint.”

The equivalent Tuesday ABC-TV bulletins for NSW and Qld did not omit the word “unanimous”. Here’s how they opened:

NSW Anchor Juanita Phillips: In a unanimous ruling the High Court found the evidence didn’t establish doubt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Qld Anchor Matt Wordsworth: The judges were unanimous in their ruling, finding the evidence didn’t establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Naturally I became a keen observer of the next ABC-TV 7pm News (Vic) last night (April 8). Tam began,

On his first full day of freedom after being acquitted of child sex abuse, Cardinal Pell has travelled to a new abode in Sydney . His exact destination is still not known the day after the High Court unanimously quashed charges against him.

Goodness, this time it has taken “Tam” only 13 seconds to work in that elusive word “unanimous”. Could my complaint have galvanised ABC satraps into an urgent attempt to ameliorate their TV crime of 24 hours previous?

This morning I was half-way through this draft article when the ABC emailed me at 10.13am. Victorian News Editor Georgia Spokes spoke:

Dear Tony,
I am writing in response to your complaint regarding ABC News.

I agree, the fact the decision was unanimous should have been in the top story on the 7PM News on Tuesday. It was reported across other ABC platforms throughout the day and was included in last night’s 7PM coverage.

I have spoken to the reporter and producer and they have assured me the omission was not in any way intentional.

Kind regards
etc etc

Has there ever been such a letter in the history of the ABC! Who is Ms Spokes? Says LinkedIn:

News Editor with more than two decades of broadcast and digital media experience. Accomplished journalist and editorial leader with strong management and communication skills.

The ABC likes to bill itself as Auystralia’s “most trusted” news source, so it was a pity that an “editorial leader with strong management and communication skills” didn’t prevent her team going to air Tuesday across most of Australia with an outrageous omission on one of the most important personal and legal stories in Australian history — our very own Dreyfus case, and one of particular sensitivity to the ABC’s internal agenda. Ms Spokes should tighten things up at Southbank or switch full-time to baking cupcakes. I’d be more charitable except that ABC-TV (Vic) has been green-leftist poison for decades.

Let’s look closer at Spokes’ team’s Tuesday output. The ABC show opened with a big graphic “George Pell Freed.” Then Tam began, “George Pell walks free after the High Court quashes his child sexual abuse conviction.”

Hey, Tam! About this bloke “George Pell”: is he a Cardinal? If so, would it be too much for the ABC to be courteous to a hideously wronged and innocent citizen and call him “Cardinal” George Pell? When I was a young reporter, circa 1960s, our style book said that legally accused males must be referred to as “Mr”, including alleged axe murderers and bank robbers. But “George Pell”, even after 405 days wrongfully in prison, mostly in solitary, was how the ABC opened about him.

“Tam’s” item began (and note the omission of “unanimous”):

Cardinal George Pell is free tonight after the High Court ruled there was a significant possibility an innocent man was wrongly convicted.

She then threw to reporter Sarah Farnsworth, who said:

The High Court ruled with that evidence [from the trial] a jury acting rationally ought to have entertained a doubt as to the Cardinal’s guilt… The court ordered his conviction be overturned.[i]

Tam later:

The Cardinal’s final recourse was last month’s High Court hearing leading to today’s acquittal.

The ABC item, as you would expect, of a melange of material selected to take attention off the monstrous injustice of Pell’s 405 days in gaol and to revive anything damaging and handy about the Catholic Church and its past child sex abuses, all of which are irrelevant to Pell’s criminal prosecution, unjust gaoling and vindication.

The producers’ tricks include hard editing of material favourable to Pell and long lingering on adverse material. For example, Pell’s all-important written statement on his release was chopped to 16 seconds, compared with a vast 158 seconds to ABC talking head Ben Knight, who threw everything conceivable into the anti-Pell and anti-Church narrative.

Farnsworth did a lovely ABC line, “His [Pell’s] friends have always believed Cardinal Pell was innocent” before cutting to Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli saying just that. Correction to Ms Farnsworth: Many people including legal experts, and not just “friends”, always believed, on the evidence and facts, that the Cardinal was innocent.

Archbishop Comensoli got 21 seconds. Conservative lawyer Greg Craven, Vice-Chancellor of Australian Catholic University, was chopped to nine seconds, managing only to get out, “The charge which always had a reasonable doubt a mile wide was pushed and hurried forward by sections of the media…” Down came the ABC chopper in mid-sentence so we’ll never know which media Craven was referring to. You’ll get an idea from the clip below, especially from two minutes in.

There was a great rollout of talking heads bagging Pell, the Church or both. Lisa Flynn of Shine Lawyers, speaking for the father of a deceased former choir boy in the case (17 seconds), said the father was “heart-broken” by the court’s decision. “He has expressed disgust at the outcome and he is really struggling to understand it and accept it,” Ms Flynn told ABC. The ABC didn’t mention that the same boy had denied being abused by Pell. And with all respect to the father, my own disgust is about an innocent Papal adviser being vilified as the worst of criminals. And via Victoria’s notoriously abased legal system, he was wrongly incarcerated for more than 13 months.

Then we get Farnsworth (13 seconds) peddling vaporware about possible civil actions against Pell: “The ABC understands at least ten civil cases are planned.” And I understand that at least ten civil cases are planned against Sarah Farnsworth, by my local stamp-collectors’ club.

To pad out the item and avoid including anything that might humanise the Cardinal and his withering ordeal, Tam spends 36 seconds on the arcane history of the prosecution, omitting of course VicPol’s public trawling for complaints to generate a prosecution from scratch.

The ABC’s Cheryl Hall reported, via Oudyn, that the case “continues to polarise public opinion”, a feeble weasel-worded excuse to continue the bagging of Pell). “His acquittal is a relief for his supporters,” Hall said. In ABC-thought, it’s not a relief to anyone else, like people who favour justice over injustice and prefer that prominent but innocent people are not jailed for 405 days. It’s just Pell’s cronies, like Tony Abbott (6 seconds), who are pleased. We now have only “friends” and “supporters” of the Cardinal who backed his innocence, according to the ABC, which at one point illustrated its coverage of the Child Abuse Royal Commission’s  hearings in Ballarat with the photo below: George Pell, rock spider.

Then Hall brought us Chrissie Foster, parent of abuse victims. Hall: “The ruling has wounded those dedicated to supporting survivors of clerical abuse.” Why? Surely they prefer justice to injustice?

Hall next brought on Phillip Nagle, abuse survivor: “This [case] goes to that even when you have got a verdict, it can still be overturned.” Yes, Mr Nagle, the High Court can and does correct injustices.

Then the ABC brought on their favorite warhorse, ex-priest Paul Collins: “Many Catholics really have lost faith in the leadership of the church.” If you google “Paul Collins + ABC” you get 15,000 hits. Can’t you just feel the love? Collins gets two appearances totalling 26 seconds, which seems ample considering the ABC had only 16 seconds for Pell’s own statement. That is, Mr Whinging Ex-Priest’s views are worth 62 per cent more airtime than a Cardinal and Papal adviser unjustly gaoled for 405 days.

Continuing with the ABC’s “Look over there, a squirrel!” approach to Pell’s vindication, Hall continued, “Trauma services have already reported an influx of calls from child sexual abuse survivors since the High Court [unanimous] decision.” This is ABC smear-by-vague-proximity. Which trauma services? How many calls were in this “influx”? Three or 300? Why is this relevant to an innocent man’s historic vindication?

Next came the giant 158-second segment by ABC’s Ben Knight, who has no special church expertise (he’s just an ABC journo): “There are matters on the horizon that Cardinal Pell would be well aware of. One of course is those civil actions that you heard Sarah talking about earlier…” Huh? Vaporware upon vaporware? Who cares about Pell’s 405-day unjust prison trauma? Not the ABC, that’s for sure. Knight then waffles about what the Vatican might or might not do, including his absurd line, “The question is whether that investigation by the Vatican would start up again [now things aren’t sub judice].” He opines it won’t. Great deduction, Ben. What an ABC fixation on hypothetical ways to “get Pell”.

Knight then cranked up the ABC’s substitute narrative, about un-redacting bits of the Royal Commission about historic Ballarat church paedophiles, which were redacted because of the pending Pell case. Knight brings on yet another abuse survivor, Steve Blacker, a Risdale victim, saying, “Every day that report remains redacted is a day someone is potentially going to continue to suffer unnecessarily. That report needs to be released so we can move forward and get all that stuff out there.” This is fine, but is it appropriate in an item about a Cardinal having suffered 405 days of unjust gaol, and released a matter of hours previously?

The ABC had far from finished its wallow in anti-Catholicism. Knight: “Interestingly, Tam, tonight we have just seen a couple of people coming here to the monastery, one tying a ribbon to the front gate there which has become a widely recognised symbol of silent protest against abuse within the Catholic Church. But behind those gates is Cardinal Pell enjoying his first night of freedom in more than 400 days.”

Knight might better have said, “his first night of freedom in more than 400 days of unjust incarceration” but that would upset the ABC tone.

What to think? On the plus side, ABC Victoria’s news editor Georgia Spokes has been prompt and polite about my complaint, even if her claim about non-intentional omissions is at first sight preposterous. But indeed, such mistakes can happen (although always to benefit the Left) because an entire ABC news force is bathed in the same green-left Pell-hating mindset, with no devil’s advocate to say, “Hey, wait a minute, what about such-and-such?”

Tony Thomas’ new collection of essays, Come to think of it – essays to tickle the brain is available here as book ($34.95) or e-book ($14.95)


[i] The bulk of the program was syndicated from Victoria to all the other States’ ABC-TV News.

  • Biggles

    Tony. The ABC has long abandoned the courtesy of addressing, or referring to people by their title. Are you are a Colonel, an Admiral, a Doctor, a Professor or a Priest? No: you are just plain Bill, Fred or Sally. All down to the same pale grey in ABC land.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    One wonders at the probity of those that actually prosecuted this imagined case. The allegations,which changed as the wind,had mental illness in the mix.
    To then hold this narrative up as cogent, only to dash this man’s sense of dignity, before the whole
    public, by showing him to be misled or falsified,was a cruel and unusual punishment.
    A savage blow to his self esteem.
    He clearly believed his story, even as it changed, twisted and he added more colour and narrative.
    Only the facts let him down.
    Some of the highest justices in Victoria actually believed him,happily going with that jury,despite the impossibility of the claims.

    It would seem that the smears against the cardinal are yet to be duplicated.
    False memories will be in style as the public attacks on the Cardinal progress.
    It behoves us all to look carefully at any other allegations against this man, that this
    injustice may not be duplicated.
    Cardinal Pell is a big target for the ABC.
    It still remains that ‘The Kid’ was actually attacked at some time by someone in authority.
    The rest that we learned from him was but his mental construct.
    By whipping up false allegations against Cardinal Pell, the ABC and those that follow, have fomented anguish in the mentally ill, to their ultimate detriment.
    There needs to be a Moratorium on Pell attacks,if needs be brokered by the stake holders in all of this.
    The ABC needs to be pulled into line.
    I have stopped trusting it.
    Trust has to be restored in the Police, prosecuting branches and court system in Victoria.
    The Lawyer X saga shows that more must come out about the actors in this particular trial and those of many others in Victoria.
    Now the Cardinal is hardly likely to sue anyone, but will ‘turn the other cheek’.
    So the next time he is attacked it will not be followed by a pr campaign against his attackers.
    However ordinary people are waking up.
    I was amazed at the depth of response to this high court judgement.
    Its Time.
    Time to start ethical policing.
    Time to continually give justice to those genuinely abused.
    Time to bury the hatchet.
    Time for leadership to make it happen.

  • en passant

    If you let the police, ABC false accusers and Pell abusers off, then they will repeat this again and again. They need to be held to account and publicly crucified.
    I was on the periphery of a Green Lawfare case that cost a mining company $5M(?). Each side paid their own costs for a spurious environmental claim. Within a week of the judgement a new claim was launched and the process started again.


  1. You’re in searing form, Tony… er, Mr Thomas :-).

    Thanks for covering this ugly episode.

    You’re not alone in marvelling at the sheer illogic of crime victims claiming emotional injury by the overdue liberation of a non-criminal. Surely it’s no disrespect to their suffering to ask why on earth their reactions should even have been solicited in a case unrelated to them. Not to mention that it can’t possibly be therapeutic.

    PS What a perfect surname for ABC’s spokesapologist. It almost makes one believe in nominative determinism in the workforce.

    PPS I tried to post this at Quadrant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cardinal Pell was given the job of cleaning up the Vatican Bank by Pope Francis. As an avid reader in my twenties of David Yallop’s In God’s Name – a 1984 investigation into the untimely death of John Paul I in 1978, prompted by Vatican staff who were very concerned by the possibility it was murder – I have always assumed that assignment, if attempted with integrity, would come with major risks, well ahead of being one of Australia’s most prominent climate ‘deniers’.

    Francis, meanwhile, hasn’t distinguished himself in the eyes of sceptics in the last day or two:

    The full interview was dated yesterday in the Tablet: Pope Francis says pandemic can be a ‘place of conversion’.

    His concern for the poor – those robbed by the Vatican banksters, among other things – shines through.

    It’s another deep area of conflicted emotions and worldviews. But I am inclined to agree with Tony that Pell was the victim of a smear and that the Oz High Court has done the right thing.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Wow, Cardinal Pell suffered 8n wrongful punishment for his integrity in a Church led by a man who literally lies about the climate.


  4. I have absolutely no knowledge of the trial of Cardinal Pell, so cannot make any informed judgement upon it. Yet if the Cardinal was found guilty by an Australian court and, as a result of that was legitimately sentenced to a prison sentence, then I fail to appreciate how carrying out the sentence can be branded a “monstrous injustice” (except in hindsight). Where is the condemnation of the prosecution for conducting a trial which, in retrospect, could be unanimously branded inadequate? Where is the condemnation of an inadequate defence? Does the new decision brand evidence given by prosecution witnesses false, or merely inadequate? Is Cardinal Pell guilty of what he was accused of or is he innocent?

    Clearly today Pell is innocent in law, but previously he was guilty (in law). Whether or not the Cardinal conducted sexual crimes is known only by him, any surviving potential victims, and his deity.

    My thoughts wander from Scottish not proven verdicts, to Arnaud Amalric’s alleged saying at Béziers – commonly mis translated as “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” Is Pell a Cathar or a Catholic?

    Do we ponder these questions here, only because the Cardinal is a climate sceptic?


  5. ALAN

    Do we ponder these questions here, only because the Cardinal is a climate sceptic?

    No. I didn’t even know he was until just now, but I knew the evidence against him was dodgy. The case is extraordinarily similar to the Alex Salmond case in Scotland, with the police trawling for prosecution evidence in a case brought for obviously political reasons. See

    There’s a link though. If you care about truth in one area, it tends to spill over into another.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Do we ponder these questions here, only because the Cardinal is a climate sceptic?”

    The proposal is, that both are cases where arbitrary cultural consensus has steam-rollered proper process (of law in the Pell case, of science and law in the climate case). The unanimous decision of the high court and their ‘disappointment’ with the efforts of the lower courts, lends some support for this proposition.


  7. Geoff. The point I was trying to make, is that even here at cliscep the truths (questions) are NOT being pondered upon – only the presumed bias of the ABC ( of which I similarly have no knowledge and which, you will note I also did not comment upon). I repeat, none but those actually involved in the case can know the real truth of the matter.

    I suspect it will never happen, but just suppose cast-iron evidence emerges that Pell was guilty. Was his 400+ day imprisonment then become justified? Or ABC’s bias? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    My contribution must have been induced by my just finishing reading a Richard North Patterson novel. They get me thinking about legal matters.

    Has Cliscep discussed the Salmond case? I must have missed it.


  8. Please, if my last question in my 9.27am post offends, strike it out. It was an afterthought and not germane to my unhappiness with which this subject was treated. Pell’s incarceration may have been highly regrettable, but was hardly unjust in the strictest sense of the word.
    I would appreciate a lawyerly view. Mark?


  9. > just suppose cast-iron evidence emerges that Pell was guilty. Was his 400+ day imprisonment then become justified?

    No, for the same reason that the Gettier Cases aren’t considered good examples of knowledge: the correctness of a position has no bearing on its justifiedness. I’m reminded of Wegman’s formula:

    right answer + wrong method = bad science

    To go a step farther (? further ?),

    right answer + right method = good science
    wrong answer + right method = good science
    wrong answer + wrong method = bad science

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Alan: “Please, if my last question in my 9.27am post offends, strike it out” referring to “Do we ponder these questions here, only because the Cardinal is a climate sceptic?”

    Not at all. The “strike it out” I mean. It’s a legitimate question.

    We’re pondering Pell because Tony wrote this article, cross-published here. There is no coordination to these things. Well, not that I know about!

    I’m very interested in the case, for reasons already given. Note that this is grounded even more in the attempts Pell has been making, on behalf of Francis, to clean up the Vatican Bank. That’s just me though. Geoff didn’t know Pell was a sceptic. We’re a mixed bag, as always.

    I like mysteries and here’s one: could the Pope be a tremendously brave champion of the poor, in going after the Vatican banksters, and completely deluded about climate, at the same time?

    Here’s another. Francis seems to have stayed remarkably loyal to Pell through this trial. Have they ever discussed their very different thoughts and feelings on CAGW?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Richard,

    > could the Pope be a tremendously brave champion of the poor, in going after the Vatican banksters, and completely deluded about climate, at the same time?

    Yes! Easily. You could have all the integrity and moral courage that can fit into the human frame, and still swallow the climate narrative hook, line and sinker. As long as you’re not one of the scientifically-literate 2%. I’ve searched in vain for the defect of character that makes climate concernedness possible, likely, etc. There isn’t one, as far as I can tell. The two populations are exactly as good/evil as each other.

    This doesn’t apply to the climate leadership, obviously—a class in which the scum of the earth is vastly overrepresented.

    Liked by 4 people


    Please, if my last question in my 9.27am post offends, strike it out.

    Absolutely not. It’s a question I ask myself all the time: “Is my suspicion about x motivated by my suspicion about y?” And that goes for other attitudes besides suspicion. I just happened to have read about the sordid accusations abut Cardinal Pell, and thought that they didn’t make sense. If the case had arisen fifty years ago, I’d be biassed towards believing in a coverup to protect the church. Today I’m more likely to be biassed towards believing in a witch hunt due to the herd mentality of the media. But one can control for one’s own biasses.

    For example, on learning that Lewandowsky once co-authored a book on torture by the US authorities, one might be led by one’s own prejudices to dismiss the claims. Or, one might note that Lew, as a young non-tenured university lecturer, had no reason to risk his career making false claims, and that there was plenty of evidence elsewhere that such torture happened. From that point, enquiry into his motivations becomes superfluous.

    Cliscep hasn’t discussed the Salmond case, but I gave Craig Murray’s blog as an example of the kind of crusading journalism I admire and which no longer exists in the mainstream press at
    despite the fact that Murray is a climate believer.

    Another crusading sceptical blogger I admire (much quoted by Murray) is Rob Slane’s Blogmire. His scores of articles about the Skripal case – the latest one is here –
    (plus the tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of informed comments) have revealed the official government tale to be a classic conspiracy cover up.

    The only reason Rob Blane got involved in Skripal was that he happens to live in Salisbury so had access to local information. That, and the fact that he’s interested in truth. Before that, he was running a quiet Christian blog. Which brings us back to Pell.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. With due deference Brad (a mere scintilla) we are discussing the legal process not scientific methodology. We know that juries can become unduly influenced or biased but the law can be blind. British courts have regularly found climate activists not guilty despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
    In Australia can the prosecution challenge a decision made in a lower court, or is this reserved to the defence?


  14. > With due deference Brad (a mere scintilla) we are discussing the legal process not scientific methodology.

    Agreed. But what they have in common is that ‘getting the right answer’ simply isn’t enough. If new evidence emerged that absolutely condemned Pell, it would follow that the initial Guilty verdict had basically been a lucky guess. Sure, his incarceration may have been *just* in that karmatic, God’s-eye-view sense, but if it was based on woefully inadequate evidence (which, apparently, it was) then it wasn’t *justified*, because that’s a question of *process.*

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Brad (3:13pm): Right answer, according to my own ruthless biases. What’s perhaps a more interesting question is what’s happening in the minds of everyone as a result of the pandemic. The interview with Francis was clearly from a big fan and was primarily about Covid-19. He fed the question leading to the few sentences that have understandably been lambasted by sceptics. It was papal speculation. It was a pity. But doesn’t anyone like Francis realise that the pandemic is changing everything – like Jason Bordoff does?

    I think a lot of less highbrow and high-minded people already get this. I think a lot of the old alarmist ‘attack dogs’ on Twitter get this – hence the lack of the normal pushback to ‘deniers’ spotted by Julie here

    Like the dog that didn’t bark it’s the absence of consensus enforcement that’s really key for me here. (But well said, Jane, or whatever your name may be.)

    How do we persuade the high-minded like Jorge Mario Bergoglio? I think we have a major opportunity to do so coming up. Perhaps George Pell will be able to help.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m spending too much time on this, and I’m not really that interested in the specifics of the case.
    I regret posing the question about the relevancy of the subjects climate opinions because it distracted attention from my other questions concerned with the inadequacies of the original prosecution and defence, and the impossibility of determining guilt absolutely. I acknowledge the similarity of the charges made against Pell and Salmond. So I consider a retrospective examination of the prosecution process in both cases, and what led to them, to be most important matters (but seemingly not yet worth discussing here yet).

    BTW Geoff thank you for introducing me to Craig Murray’s blog.


  17. Alan,

    tranquilo, tequila, etc. It’s all data, it’s all edifying, your questions are timely and welcome, and anything ‘not yet worth discussing here’ is just a blog post not yet written (by you), so go for it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ALAN
    You can read Pell’s opinion on climate change here

    Wiki calls him a climate denier, which he clearly isn’t.

    Wikipaedia summarises the court cases, of which there were many. The French and Italian versions of Wiki give a bit more detail about the accusations, while the Latin version simply refers us to an article in the Guardian.

    Reading between the lines of Wiki:

    – a first case was thrown out, though it was made clear that that had nothing to do with the accuser’s long line of criminal convictions;
    – in the second case he was found guilty by a majority verdict, despite one of the two accusers having recently died of a drug overdose. The case was unusual, in that it involved no grooming, but was claimed to be a rape conducted in a public part of the cathedral of two boys he didn’t know.
    – a third case was dropped, partly because accusers had announced they intended to pursue him in the civil courts (presumably for money.) That involved him throwing boys in the swimming pool in the seventies.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Cardinal Pell has long been known as a climate sceptic. He gave the 2011 GWPF annual lecture, which I attended. It is interesting to note he views consensus as being “one more appeal to authority which is quite inappropriate in science and philosophy”.
    Instead Pell believes that one should check the actual evidence for themselves, which is possible for the layman.
    He also quoted an article in Quadrant about AR4, concerning the projections being based on unvalidated computer modelling, resting on unsubstantated assumptions, and almost entirely without empirical evidence.
    Cardinal Pell also mentioned things not taken into account by the climate alarmists, such as sub-sea volcanos and changes in the orbit of the earth, along with the slight observed decline in global average temperatures between 1998 and 2010. He also brought up evidence of past natural climate change likely having catastophic human consequences, such as the collapse of the Mayan civilization.

    It is interesting in the Q&A Cardinal Pell was challenged about contradicting the views of the Pope on AGW by more than one audience member, including at least one priest.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Sad to say, one can only talk sensibly about the legal merits of this case after reading the 330 page compendium comprising 2 appeal court judges affirming a jury’s latest guilty verdict (there was a previous hung jury trial) and 1 judge trenchantly saying the prosecution case was rubbish. The High Court (7-0) has only given a one-page summary to date so that Pell could be released.
    THen one must back-study the multi-years of legal prelims and cases, and crucially, note that the Victorian “progressive” government changed the law a couple of years ago so that UNCORROBORATED claims by “victims” (which were then me-toos) are good enough for conviction (previously, corroboration of some kind essential). Thus the final Pell case was accuser’s word against Pell’s. Defence was that the accuser’s claims were physically impossible given time and space issues.
    And moreover the Victorian police who “went after” Pell big-time, has been so tainted that they used the local crims’ lawyer, a Miss Gobbo, as a secret informant on her own clients for about ten years. The State is now having to release scores/100s of the worst murderers, gangsters and drug wholesalers in the State’s gaols because of their tainted prosecutions.
    The ABC and coppers have worked hand in glove to get adverse sh-t leaked about Pell and generally railroad him.
    Get this: The Vic Police are so immured in leftist politics that when right of centre types run a meeting and Antifa thugs arrive to break it up, the police stand aside and then CHARGE THE MEETING ORGANISERS sums like $50,000 AUD for the cost of the police presence.

    Liked by 6 people

  21. Manic: I think I must have missed that GWPF lecture – not being on the invitation list in 2011 perhaps. But I had been left with quite a strong impression that Nigel Lawson was plugged into a key network of then influential sceptics in Oz, including Pell and ex-PMs John Howard and Tony Abbott, whose victory in September 2013 was duly noted with Climate Scepticism And The Triumph Of Tony Abbott from Benny Peiser’s CCNet mailing list which has gradually merged with the GWPF.

    One problem with climate scepticism history is its lengthy ebbs and flows, made worse by the fact that it started with mostly older people. But, whatever lay behind the unjust imprisonment of George Pell, it’s great that he’s out of prison and able to fight another day.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Tony Thomas @ 9.24pm
    A fuller version of the High Court Judgement is now available.
    I have just spent a couple of hours slowly reading through the document of 43 pages and 129 paragraphs. Like other judgements I have read it may use precise language but is easy to read for the lay person.
    From my reading
    – In a normal criminal trial the onus is on the prosection to convince the jury of the accussed guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
    – George Pell was installed as Archbishop on 14th August 1996. The only masses he lead in that year were on 23 November, 15 & 22 December. He then was present & robed at a mass on 23 February 1997.
    – The alleged offences took place on two of these occasions, within a few minutes of a mass finishing. Four if the alleged offences took place in an unlocked room when the accused chanced upon the boys swigging from a bottle of communion wine. A room that others would be entering imminently as part of the conclusion of the mass ceremonies. This was after the “main man” in a procession of over 50 men and boys managed to slip away unnoticed, corner two boys in room that was normally locked, have is wicked way whilst in full Archbishop rig (and the boys with long coats and surplices). Appears to major piece of athleticism that would not appear credible on “Death in Paradise” or “Midsomer Murders”.
    – George Pell was known as a “conservative” and a stickler for tradition. A centuries old tradition is that when an archbishop enters a cathedral he is accompanied at all times. This is especially true when the archbishop is wearing the vestments.
    – As Archbishop George Pell would leave the procession at the main door of the Cathedral, spending up to 30 minutes greeting congregants as they left. This is common in most churches, but was not done by the previous archbishop.
    – It was left to the defence to demonstrate that normal processes had not been deviated over twenty years before and thus an unlikely window of opportunity definitely did not exist (paras 27-29). Traditional procedure IMO would have been for the Judge to recognize that there was more than reasonable doubt that the opportunity to commit the offences existed, and no evidence that the small window of opportunity did exist. It is more than one word against another.
    This last point about shifting the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defence IMO closely parallels the reversal of the normal scientific method – where the ultimate determinant of truth is in the natural world – to reliance on the consensus of “experts”. For instance below is something from Oreskes and Conway 2010 with comment from Brad Keyes in a Feb 2018 article at Jo Nova’s blog.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. I should’ve got to looking at this earlier. I’m a big follower of John Ziegler’s work on similar cases in the US, and more specifically, the Jerry Sandusky case. From what I’ve gleaned, this looks like it’s mostly a political witch hunt, while US cases are part of a new American dream — to be the victim of someone with deep pockets. One thing that looks like a depressing similarity, is overzealous prosecutors. Child abuse accusations are a very effective way to destroy someones reputation.It’s also depressing to have the press buy into and establish a set narrative. In the Sandusky case, Ziegler argues that journalist, Sarah Ganim was leaked information from the prosecutors in an quest to find more accusers. The twenty something Ganim went on to win a Pulitzer prize, be made the heroine of an HBO docudrama and get hired by CNN. She has since, NOT written a book or done anything noteworthy. She’s best know for being caught laughing on camera at a kidnapped Trump supporter being abused. Her CNN contract was just NOT renewed.


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