George Pell: How is this not a show trial, now?

Caption: George Pell is made ready for his live-to-tv sentencing.

Since Cardinal George Pell was recently convicted of child abuse, a number of commentators across the political and cultural spectrum have expressed their unease at what they see as a fundamentally disturbing process. Greg Craven wrote, ?what we have witnessed is a combined effort by much of the media, including the public broadcaster and elements of Victoria?s law enforcement agency, to blacken the name of someone before he went to trial. And remember, Victoria?s prosecutorial authorities never determined to proceed. They returned the police brief three times, before the police forced the case to go forward?.

The suspicion that Pell?s was little more than an old-fashioned show trial will not be eased by the extraordinary announcement that Pell?s sentencing tomorrow will be broadcast live to the world.


The County Court has confirmed the sentencing listed for Wednesday morning will be available to television and other news outlets to broadcast live in its entirety. End of quote.

You can bet there will be blanket coverage live on every TV station. If the rozzers and the legacy media hacks were to start handing out tar and feathers, it shouldn?t surprise anyone now. Quote:

Sentencing judge Peter Kidd is expected to anonymise his remarks so as not to identify the victims of sexual assault.

Pell was found guilty by a jury last November?The charges relate to the abuse of two choirboys at Melbourne?s St Patrick?s Cathedral in 1996 when Pell was the newly appointed Archbishop of Melbourne.

The court heard Pell orally raped one of the choristers and molested his friend after a Sunday solemn mass in 1996.

Another allegation was Pell groped one of the choristers two months later. End of quote.

A second raft of allegations was dropped, and the second victim had explicitly denied being molested, before his death. The whole case rested on the word of one anonymous accuser. Quote:

Pell?s legal team now headed by Bret Walker SC are appealing the verdicts on three grounds including that the verdicts are unreasonable.

In their application, they claimed it was not open to the jury to be satisfied of Pell?s guilt beyond reasonable doubt on the word of the one surviving chorister.

The appeal?s other grounds include an error by Judge Kidd in preventing Mr Richter from using an animated visual aid of people?s movements about the cathedral during the closing address.

The third ground claims there was a ?fundamental irregularity? in the trial process because Pell was not arraigned physically in the presence of the jury panel.

The application to appeal and appeal are set down for two days in June. End of quote.


By which time the whole world will have been able to watch a judge sentence Pell, almost certainly referring in great detail to the offences which many believe will be overturned on appeal. But even if they are, Victorian authorities will have made sure that it doesn?t matter anyway. As Craven noted, the ?reputational blackening? of Pell has been so thorough that ?is there any Australian who does not now associate the word ?Pell? with ?child abuse?? Secondly, is there any public official in Australia who does not understand that any action, no matter how appropriate, that might tend towards Pell?s acquittal, will meet swift, public retribution??

The Victorian legal establishment went out of its way, by issuing an extraordinary blanket suppression order, to protect the second prosecution against Pell ? which collapsed anyway. Now they seem to be going out of their way to not only nobble his appeal, but make sure that whatever happens, Pell is thoroughly ruined.